The goal for the men's golf team in its final invitational of the fall season -- The Tillingshast in Scarsdale, N.Y. -- was to be in contention from start to finish.
Unfortunately for the team and coach Mike Fleck, the Cardinals were never in contention, finishing 22nd out of 24 teams.
"This was by far the most disappointing performance of the fall season," Fleck said.
Not only did the Cardinals have their worst finish of the season, but they shot their worst rounds of the season -- 319 and 313; their previous high round was 306. The team also finished the furthest back of all its tournaments, 55 strokes off the lead.
The Quaker Ridge Golf Course was the most difficult course the team has played this season, according to Fleck. Fleck said that is no excuse, though, because all of the teams played the same course.
"I've told the team all year that how we play is all relative to the rest of the field," Fleck said. "The course was unbelievably demanding. It was very, very difficult, but not difficult enough for us to finish that bad."
In every tournament this year, Ball State has had a golfer finish in the top six individually. The best individual finish in the Tillingshast was junior Kenny Cook's 60th place out of 120. None of the Cardinals had a good tournament, according to Fleck.
"The only thing consistent was that we weren't good all around," Fleck said. "There's a lot we need to work on before the spring season, and this tournament gave us that indication."
The team will now turn its focus to the dual shootout scheduled with Indiana this weekend at the Sycamore Hills Country Club in Fort Wayne. The meet was scheduled a few weeks ago because both schools lost playing time due to the Sept. 11 attacks.
Fleck has worked with the Indiana golf coach to try and match up their rosters so they have comparable lineups for the two-on-two shootout. The goal of the tournament is to get players involved who have not had much tournament play, Fleck said.
Although the format is different than the team is used to, this weekend will still be an official tournament. The two teams will play a practice round on Saturday, and then play two rounds on Sunday. Each team will take six players, and the four lowest scores will count toward the team's total.
Fleck wants to get more of the team involved in the tournament and see what it needs to do going into the spring. Three freshmen and a sophomore who have not competed with the team in a tournament this season will make the trip to Fort Wayne this weekend.
"This is our last opportunity to compete this fall," Fleck said. "So we want to end on a good note. We hope to get a win over IU to set the foundation for what we want to do this spring."