The No. 1 team in the nation, and six other teams within the top 50 played in the Mason Rudolph Championship along with Ball State Men’s Golf. “That's why we sign up to play in tournaments like this [referring to the ranked teams] because we want to go compete against really good teams and some of the best teams in the country and we know this event was certainly that,” head coach Mike Fleck said. “It's nice to get a comparison to where we are and mix it up with these programs that are going to be playing in the postseason and potentially for a national championship.”
The Cardinals were at Vanderbilt Legends Club, South Course in Franklin Tenn. for the Mason Rudolph Championship. The roster consisted of sophomore Kash Bellar, freshman Carter Smith, graduate student Joey Ranieri, redshirt sophomore Ali Khan and senior Evan Bone.
At the end of it, the Cardinals placed 11th out of 15 teams in the tournament, shooting 868 over three rounds.
“The course was playing a little bit more challenging this year than in years past,” Fleck said. “I think the greens were a little firmer and faster, the rough was definitely thick, and they had some rain in the week and let the rough grow out.”
Monday - Round One
It was more than just Ball State that struggled in the first round of the tournament.
“I think just the combination of the difficulty of the course and some of the hole locations with the greens being firm and fast,” Fleck said. “I think the conditions caught a lot of the teams and the players off guard a little bit in that first round.”
Khan led the Cardinals with his 2-over-par score of 73 with help from his 2-under-par back nine. Following him was Bellar who posted a 3-over-par 74 with one of the most coveted things in golf, a hole-in-one.
Both Smith and Bone put up a 6-over-par 77 followed closely by Ranieri who shot a 7-over-par 78.
Tuesday - Round Two
As previously stated, with most teams struggling in round one, round two saw many strokes dropped by nearly every team playing. Ball State dropped 15 strokes from the first round to the second.
“We just got better,” Fleck said. “We cleaned up some of the things that we didn't do well in the first round. We weren't very sharp [in the first round] and made some mistakes and pretty much every area and we were able to kind of clean those things out from the second round
Ranieri, dropping eight strokes, posted a 1-under-par 70 along with Bellar to lead the team in the second round.
Bone and Smith just followed with their 2-over-par 73 and rounded out the Cardinals. Khan posted a 9-over-par 80.
Wednesday - Round Three
Continuing to drop strokes, Ball State dropped five strokes from their second to the third and final round.
Bellar led the team with his 3-under-par 68 and was followed by Ranieri with a 2-under-par 69. Ranieri finished his final nine with 4 birdies.
Khan posted a 1-under-par 70 in his final round. Smith shot a 3-over-par 74 and rounding out the Cardinals was Bone with a 7-over-par 78.
Ball State will have a quick turnaround, teeing it up again on Friday for the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette at the Ackerman-Allen Golf Club.
“We turn around and leave on Friday morning actually, the event at Purdue has been modified because of pending weather on the weekend. So we're actually going to play a practice round Friday morning, and then play the first round Friday afternoon. We will play 36 holes on Saturday during the two good weather days and try to eliminate the possibility of having to deal with very bad wind, rain and weather conditions on Sunday. So that kind of squeezes us even a little bit more.”