For the first time in four years, the Ball State men's golf team will not include Eric Steger on the score sheet. 

The former No. 1 player has now graduated. In his place stands a group of talented youngsters. 

Sophomore Tyler Merkel, who played his way into the second spot on the team as a freshman last year, will step into Steger's vacated role this year. 

His first opportunity to show he can handle it will come with Ball State's season opening tournament this weekend, the Northern Intercollegiate in Sugar Grove, Ill. 

The tournament will run today and Sunday. 

The rest of Ball State's lineup includes juniors Alex Stinson, Joe Gasser and Brodie Williams, and senior TJ Carpenter. Freshman Zach Yinger will make his Ball State debut as an individual competitor. 

Ball State finished second in the Mid-American Conference Championships last spring. Their climb to finish one better starts today.