“A consistent showing across the board.”
That’s how head coach Mike Fleck described Ball State Men’s Golf’s performance at the Craft Farms Collegiate in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Cardinals finished +18, good for fifth (tied with Texas State) out of 13 teams.
“We played pretty steady over the three rounds,” Fleck said. “I think CJ’s round today at par was better, but for the most part, a steady performance from really all five guys.”
Ball State entered the final round four strokes out of the top five. Senior CJ Jones produced a +1 on par threes, netting a share of third place in the field. He also tallied 10 birdies in the tournament, a team-high.
The other four Cardinals to compete were senior Jack Cunningham, junior Joey Raneri, junior Sterling Mcllravy and redshirt senior Tyler Green.
Green and Raneri each scored 74 Sunday to tie for 22 of 75 total individual players. The two matched the following day again with 73.
Mcllravy chipped in nine birdies through three days. He finished -7, good for a share of first place with three other individuals on par fives.
The Cardinals placed second in the field on par fives at -18, only behind Cincinnati at -19.
“We knew coming in that the par-five scoring was going to be important,” Fleck said. “We did a pretty good job of keeping the ball in play on a lot of tight driving holes, which helped us find some success down here this week.”
Fleck noticed an area that the Cardinals could build upon in the next few weeks.
“We need to continue to get a little bit better on the greens,” Fleck said. “We had some short putts here and there that we probably could have converted. If we make a handful of those, it would have sent us to one of the top spots. We'll continue to hammer away at the short game and try to get more comfortable as the spring goes along.”
Eastern Michigan was the only other Mid-American Conference program in the field. Ball State passed the Eagles in the standings on the final day in large part to its +4 performance.
“Anytime you can get behind the headwinds and finish in the top-five finishes in the field,” Fleck said. “It's only going to build our confidence and get us more prepared to hopefully play well at the MAC Championship.”
The Cardinals will return to the course in Bloomington, Indiana, for the Hoosier Invitational April 3-4. It will be the first of three consecutive weekends where Ball State competes.