Tyler Cook

After a four-month winter break, the Ball State men's golf team will hit the links Monday and Tuesday as it hosts the Mid-American Match Play Tournament at Lake Jovita Golf Course in Dade City, Fla.

The Cardinals earned the No. 1 seed in the event due to finishing second in last year's MAC Championships.

Ball State will first compete against Ohio to start its tournament run.

Coach Mike Fleck said he is optimistic about his team this season because of the recent warm weather. The unusually high temperatures have allowed the team to play at local courses in order to prepare for the spring.

"The weather has been a huge help," Fleck said. "A lot of our time is usually spent over at the indoor facility. To be able to get out and put yourself in pressure situations to make a shot, it's very beneficial."

The Cardinals are coming off of a strong fall season with an average finish of fifth place in each tournament.

The high average could not come without the help of Ball State's No. 1 golfer, sophomore Tyler Merkel, who led the team with an average of 72.27 in the five events this fall.

The teams in the event include Ohio, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Akron and Miami (OH).

The double elimination match play event is set to begin today with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.