Freshman Johnny Watts became the third Ball State golfer in history to win the individual championship for the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Watts is also the first Ball State freshman to win it. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALL STATE ATHLETICS
Men's golf preparing for spring break
There won't be much of a break for the Ball State men's golf team over spring break, as the team will be competing in two invitationals.
The Cardinals will bring seven golfers, freshmen Timothy Wiseman and Tyler Pearson, sophomores Johnny Watts, Michael VanDeventer and Michael Makris, senior James Blackwell, and redshirt sophomore Keegan McKinney.
Ball State will open competition in Bluffton S.C. on March 07-8 for the Colleton River Collegiate and will finish in North Carolina at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate on March 11-13.
Pinehurst No. 8:
Total Yards - 7092
Architect - Tom Fazio
Located in Pinehurst, NC
Opened in 1996
Total Yards - 7403
Architect - Pete Dye
Located in Bluffton, SC
Opened in 1998
"It's gonna be a challenge because it's going to work all aspects of our game," Head coach Mike Fleck said.
Each tournament has particular difficulties and being able to make it through both will be a great experience for the team as a whole.
Michigan State is hosting the Colleton River Collegiate held at the Pete Dye Course at the Colleton River Plantation. Dye is the architect for the course and is well known for his difficult and unforgiving course designs, which will prove to be a challenge for each team.
Fleck knows that there will be high winds and other weather conditions at the course sits on the coast in South Carolina. The conditions could be less predictable, making it tougher to golf.
The second tournament, The Pinehurst Intercollegiate, will be taking place at the No. 8 course at Pinehurst. Pinehurst is known as one of the golf meccas of the United States and as recently as 2014 the No. 2 course at Pinehurst played host for the US Open and the US Women's Open.
Fleck is most wary of the run off areas and swales around the greens, which requires the players to have very solid short games and to be able to use their imagination when playing shots from around the green.
The fields for each tournament are comprised of mostly Midwest and Northern schools. Fleck picked these tournaments knowing that the teams were more similar in terms of preparation, given the change of seasons that our area has to put up with.
Ball State golfers has been working mostly on distance control to get ready. Without the luxury of warm weather they have been using their trackman, which gives instead feedback and distances making it easy for the team to practice indoors.
The team will start its busy spring break on March 7 at Colleton River Plantation and the tournament scoring will be hosted at Birdiefire.com