Ball State men’s golf salvaged a third place finish at the Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play Tuesday, defeating Eastern Michigan 4-2 in the final round of competition. 

The No. 4 Cardinals knocked off the No. 2 Eagles, with five of the six individual matches going to the final hole. Only Johnny Watts finished his match early, beating Eastern Michigan’s Beau Breault by three holes, clinching victory on the second to last hole.

Jack Cunningham and Timothy Wiseman also won their matches, completing a 3-0 record during match play in the tournament. Head Coach Mike Fleck said Ball State had a well-rounded performance, but in the end putting was the difference against Eastern Michigan. 

“Today against Eastern Michigan, we were evenly matched," Fleck said. "But we made some crucial putts when we needed to. It really helped us in the match play format, where putting is extremely critical.”

During the fall season, putting was a weakness for the Cardinals. Many times, Fleck said, putting was the difference between winning and losing at fall tournaments.

However, Ball State was able to start practicing their putting closer to campus this winter as the Earl Yestingsmeier Golf Center opened up in January, featuring different amenities which include a putting green.

Overall, Fleck said he was pleased with the way the Cardinals performed for their first tournament of the spring. He said his team will do what they can to better their overall game, before their next tournament in three weeks.

“This time of year is a little challenging, because you don’t know when you’re going to be able to get outside on a regular basis,” Fleck said. “We’ll continue to take every advantage of getting (outside) and prepare the best we can for Pinehurst."

The Ball State men’s golf team will be in action next Mar. 9-11 at the Pinehurst Invitational at Pinehurst No. 8 in North Carolina.

Contact Ben Schueren with comments at bpschueren@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @benschueren.