Sophomore Joey Ranieri’s 12th-place tie wasn’t enough to lead Ball State Men’s Golf to a top-5 finish at the Marquette Intercollegiate this week in Wisconsin. The Cardinals placed 11th out of 12 teams, finishing with a total score of 887 through three rounds.

After securing a first-place finish three weeks ago at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the Cardinals have battled inconsistencies on the green. Head coach Mike Fleck said he was hoping for a stronger collective effort this week. 

“The first two days were not good,” Fleck said. “I just wasn’t satisfied with our play, and more at times, our attitudes. We have to get better in both those areas if we want to get better.” 

Although Ball State could not find itself in the tournament’s top 10, it was another strong outing for Ranieri. The tournament was Ranieri’s third straight finishing under par, shooting a team-low score of 69 in Tuesday’s final round to finish with a total score of 212. 

“[Ranieri] continues to play good, solid golf,” Fleck said. “He’s been very consistent, even when his ball striking isn’t quite there like it was in the middle rounds. He still figures out a way to compete and put up a competitive number: he obviously played well [Tuesday] and finished strong.”

The Cardinals finished Sunday’s first round with a score of 303, but the team was able to shoot slightly lower Monday, ending their second round with a score of 297. Ranieri led the Cardinals in their first two rounds, shooting for scores of 72 and 74.

Ball State ended Monday’s second round in 12th place, but was able to climb up one spot in Tuesday’s action. In addition to Ranieri, the Cardinals saw three golfers shoot for scores of 75 or less in their final round: redshirt juniors Keegan Bronnenberg and Tyler Green, and junior CJ Jones, finishing with scores of 73, 72, and 73, respectively.

“I think we played better [on Tuesday] than the first two days,” Fleck said. “Our ball striking was better, and it looked like we were a little more solid. We just put ourselves in a better position.”

Bronnenberg ended the tournament in a tie for 35th, while Green finished in a tie for 50th. The Cardinals were rounded out by sophomore Yianni Kostorous, tying for 57th, and a 64th-place tie from Jones. 

Competing as an individual, the tournament also saw freshman Joey Wiseman make his collegiate debut, finishing with a total score of 212.

Next up for Ball State will be the Crooked Stick Invitational, taking place Oct. 14-15 in Carmel, Indiana. While Fleck has been disappointed with his team’s recent results, his goals are clear for the rest of this fall. 

“We obviously started really well in Iowa,” Fleck said. “I think we’ve taken a couple steps back over the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why. We just have to be consistent with our efforts and energy, relative to going out, playing golf and not letting our emotions take over.”