Evan Barnum-Steggerda

Ball State opened up its second event of the fall season on Sunday at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Burlington, Iowa.

Coming off a seventh place finish in the Northern Intercollegiate, which heralded two Top 25 teams along with the 2010 and 2011 national champion, Ball State played well on the first day of the three-day event.

As a team, Ball State shot a 289 for the day. The one-over-par score was good enough to place the team in second, three strokes behind leader Missouri.

Ball State was led by senior Alex Stinson's 69-stroke effort which has him positioned in a tie for third for individual scoring. He finished three-under-par on the front nine and was even on the back.

Complementing Stinson's great round, junior Tyler Merkel shot even with a 72. Merkel, the number one on the team, is currently in a tie for ninth individually. Senior Joe Gasser, Ball State's top finisher at the Northern Intercollegiate, finished his round just one stroke behind Merkel with a 73.

Ball State finished three strokes ahead of host Iowa, who was the highest ranked team coming into the event.

Event leader Missouri has not trailed in a round it has played this season. The Tigers won their last event, The Turning Stone Intercollegiate, by 19 shots.

The second round of the event starts at 9 a.m. today, but Ball State's first golfer, freshman James Blackwell, will tee off at 10:40 a.m.