New 54-hole program record. Check.
New 54-hole individual record. Check.
New 18-hole team record. Check.
One through four on the podium individually. Check.
Second win of the season. Check.
Ball State set a new 54-hole record, shooting 818 and the new 54-hole individually was set by freshman Carter Smith with a 199, winning the tournament as well.
The Cardinals were at Highland Golf and Country Club in Indianapolis for the Don Benbow Invitational. The five-person roster consisted of sophomore Kash Bellar, graduate student Joey Ranieri, redshirt sophomore Ali Khan, freshman Carter Smith, and redshirt sophomore Griffin Hare.
Smith placed first, and individual for the team senior Evan Bone placed second, Khan placed third and Bellar earned fourth place.
Monday - Round One
Head coach Mike Fleck said the characteristics of the course were like Ball States home course, Delaware Country Club. He said that is a good reason why the players were able to perform so well.
Smith led the Cardinals after round one, a continuing theme throughout the tournament. He posted a 4-under-par score of 66.
“He’s [Smith] put in a lot of work over the offseason and it's kind of fun seeing the fruits of his labor pay off,” Fleck said. “You don't always see that happen in the game of golf, and for him to win individually as a freshman is very rewarding.”
Khan, who also was atop of the leaderboard all week, posted the second-lowest score on the team in the first round with a 2-under-par 68.
Bellar posted an even-par 70, Hare shot a 2-over-par 72 and was followed by Ranieri who posted a 6-over-par 76.
Monday - Round Two
The Cardinals broke the school record of a single-round team score with a final of 266 in their second round.
“We just started making a bunch of birdies, we saw a lot of red numbers go up on the board and I think they got comfortable and played with confidence,” Fleck said. “They were making some putts and when this group of guys can fire on all cylinders it shows you what they're capable of doing. We had that nice little run there in the second round that really separated us from the field.”
Smith and Ranieri both led Ball State with a 5-under-par performance of 65.
Ranieri, who shot 76 in the first round, dropped nine strokes between round one and two.
“Joey doesn't give up. It doesn't matter the circumstance or the situation,” Fleck said. “He wasn't happy with his morning round and before he started that second round, we both had a brief conversation and said, hey, let's get it under par in the second round.”
Khan was second best again, dropping a stroke for a 3-under-par 67.
Bellar posted a 1-under-par 69 followed by Hare who was even-par.
Tuesday - Round Three
Bellar led the team in round three with a 4-under-par 66, he had seven birdies in his final round.
Smith was second best with a 2-under-par 68 followed by Khan with a 69.
Ranieri posted a 2-over-par 72 followed by Hare who rounded out the Cardinals tournament with a 4-over-par 74.
“It's satisfying, we came down here and we were probably the best on paper, but to see them perform and do it at the level that we did was gratifying as a coach,” Fleck said. “To see not just a couple guys playing well, but several guys playing well and contributing and having a great event across the board.”
Ball State will be back in action Apr. 10-12 at the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Course for the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin Tenn.
“We're building some momentum, the key is to go back home and continue to work,” Fleck said. “We got a weekend in between now and going to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is going to be a great challenge with some national-level competition.”
Contact Elijah Poe with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElijahPoe4.