Inconsistencies push Ball State Men's Golf to 12th at Crooked Stick Invitational

<p>Graphic by <strong>Emily Wright,DN</strong></p>

Graphic by Emily Wright,DN

Since finishing in first place at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in September, Ball State Men’s Golf has struggled to shoot low for the past month. The Cardinals fell five spots Tuesday from seventh place Monday to end the tournament in 12th out of 14 teams at the Crooked Stick Invitational in Carmel, Indiana.

In Monday’s 36-hole action, Ball State struggled in holes 16 through 18, finishing 15-over-par on those three holes alone. The Cardinals shot 1-over-par for the remainder of the day, but struggles in Tuesday’s final round ultimately hurt the team. 

“For probably 30 of the 36 holes [Monday], we did a really nice job,” head coach Mike Fleck said. “[Tuesday], we just didn’t do anything well.” 

As the fall season comes to a close, Fleck said he continues to see potential with the Cardinals but has been disappointed with their overall mentality. Ball State ended the tournament with a score of 911.

“It just continues to drive me crazy,” Fleck said. “These guys are making some poor mental mistakes. We managed things well in our first event, but we’re putting ourselves in positions where we just can’t score consistently.”

Individually, the Cardinals were led by redshirt junior Keegan Bronnenberg, who tied for 28th with an overall score of 224. Bronnenberg led the Cardinals in round one with a score of 70 to finish 2-under-par. 

“I got to give Keegan a lot of credit,” Fleck said. “[Tuesday] was a gutsy round. He kind of got off to a slow start himself but battled.”

In the second round, sophomore Joey Ranieri led Ball State with a score of 68. While Ranieri has been a major source of consistency for the Cardinals, his 16-over-par performance in the tournament was the highest he has finished this fall.

The Cardinals concluded the tournament Tuesday with a team score of 319: the highest of any team in Tuesday’s action. Led by Bronnenberg, Ball State was rounded out by junior CJ Jones, Ranieri, sophomore Yianni Kostouros and redshirt junior Tyler Green, finishing in ties for 56th, 61st, 65th and 69th, respectively.

Ball State will conclude its fall season Oct. 21-22 at the Musketeer Classic in Cincinnati, Ohio. After finishing second at last year’s tournament, Fleck said he hopes for similar success despite his team’s recent struggles. 

“I’m not sure what it is [my golfers] needs to do, but they have another nice opportunity at Xavier next week,” Fleck said. “They have to get back in the mindset of playing to their talent level and playing smart golf.”

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

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