Ball State Men’s Golf places 3rd at MAC Championships with 3 top 10 finishers

<p>Junior Joey Ranieri hits the ball Oct. 1, 2018. Ranieri was ranked second on the team with a 73.00 stroke average in 2019. <strong>Jeff Harwell, Photo Provided</strong></p>

Junior Joey Ranieri hits the ball Oct. 1, 2018. Ranieri was ranked second on the team with a 73.00 stroke average in 2019. Jeff Harwell, Photo Provided

Ball State men’s golf finished third out of eight teams in the Mid-American Conference Championship meet at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana, over the weekend. 

The Cardinals finished with a total score of 927 (+63) in the 54-hole event. 

Ball State was one of two teams, along with Kent State, that finished with at least three individuals within the top ten. Head coach Mike Fleck believes that accomplishment speaks volumes about the program's consistency.

“It means several of our players have stepped over the course of the 54 holes,” Fleck said. “We played a very challenging golf course with some really extreme conditions with wind, so to have three guys balance it out inside the top 10, all credit to them.”

Junior Joey Ranieri placed sixth, the highest of any Cardinal. He finished with scores of 76, 75 and 78 in three rounds to round out at a final score of 229.  On par 4s, Ranieri scored +5 with an average of 4.17, which was best for second among all participants. He also chipped in eight birdies.

“He's a competitor,” Fleck said. “Getting another season of experience under his belt allowed him to learn even more about himself. He knows that he can play successfully at this level, and I think the last few days added validation for that.”

CJ Jones, a senior at Franklin County High School, officially signed his letter of intent to play for the Ball State Men's Golf team next fall. Jones has been playing golf since he was a toddler and competed in his first tournament at the age of six. CJ Jones Facebook // Photo Courtesy

Senior CJ Jones tied for eight place (231), while sophomore Joey Wiseman tied for tenth place (232). Jones and Wiseman both tied for a team-high 76 in round three Saturday.

Senior Jack Cunningham and junior Sterling Mcilravy were the other two Cardinals to compete. Cunningham tied for 31st, with his best score coming in round one with a team-high 75. Mcilravy placed 38th after his best score of 77 came in round three. 

The Cardinals shot a tournament best +21 on par 3s with a 3.35 average. Cunningham and Wiseman each shot +3 on par 3s to lead the team.

“We just hit solid shots on the par threes,” Fleck said. “We committed to hitting some good shots, and we converted the scoring opportunities on those holes.”

Kent State placed first in the tournament with a score of 878 (+14). 

While reflecting on the COVID shortened season, Fleck is proud of the way his players competed over the weekend after facing uncertainty throughout the year.

“We didn't know what we were doing in the fall,” Fleck said. “Going through the winter, we weren't sure whether we were going to play or not. We had to make some adjustments along the way with our schedule and our approach, but we kind of salvaged our spring season by having a good showing at the MAC Championship.”

Contact Charleston Bowles with comments at clbowles@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cbowles01.  

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