Coming off a first-place finish at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, Ball State Men’s Golf settled for an 11th-place tie at the Trinity Forest Invitational in Dallas, Texas. Through three days, the Cardinals finished 8-over-par for a total score of 860. 

“Obviously, it was a lot different than last week in Iowa because we didn’t win,” head coach Mike Fleck said, “but we did a lot of things well. We played pretty solid team golf but saw a different outcome this week.” 

Although Ball State saw some minor setbacks on the green in comparison to last week, one positive storyline for the Cardinals this season has been the emergence of sophomore Joey Ranieri. The 2019 MAC Freshman of the Year led the way for the Cardinals at the event, shooting 1-under-par and tying for 23rd.

With no seniors on this year’s roster, Fleck said he consistently looks to Ranieri as a source of leadership, and this week’s event was no different. Ranieri shot a career-low 67 in Monday’s second round, good for 4-under-par on the day. 

“It was just another solid outing for him,” Fleck said. “The kid works hard, he does it the right way. He handles himself well during the rounds, and it’s no surprise he continues to play good golf.”

The Cardinals also saw a solid performance from redshirt junior Keegan Bronnenberg, who tied for 23rd along with Ranieri. Ball State was rounded out by junior CJ Jones, sophomore Yianni Kostorous and junior Jack Cunningham, tying for 49th, 60th and 84th, respectively.

Jones led the Cardinals in Sunday’s first round, recording a total score of 70 and finishing 1-under-par. In addition to Ranieri’s strong effort, the Cardinals also went low Monday as Bronnenberg shot a 69. Kostorous also had a strong second round, shooting 70 with six birdies.

However, the Cardinals struggled to find momentum in Tuesday’s final round. After finishing Monday in a tie for seventh, a team score of 296 Tuesday pushed the Cardinals down four spots to end the tournament. 

“I think it’s just golf,” Fleck said. “We didn’t finish the first round very well, and we certainly didn’t finish [Tuesday] well on our final hole.”

The Cardinals have next week off before traveling to Erin, Wisconsin, to partake in the Marquette Intercollegiate Oct. 6-8. Despite Tuesday’s struggles, Fleck said he has a great amount of confidence in his team heading forward.   

“We’re really moving this forward, and we’ve got some tremendous opportunities coming up,” Fleck said. “We’re really close to being a good golf team. We’ve just got to be a little more consistent with things. For the majority of this event, we were pretty darn good.”

Contact Connor Smith with any comments at cnsmith@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cnsmithbsu.