Ball State backed up its first place finish Sept. 10 at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational with another solid showing at the Badger Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, headlined by a pair of strong individual performances.
After a strong second round at the event, the Cardinals were able to overcome a slow start to land in the upper half of the leaderboard, finishing in 8th at the end of the second day. Their comeback, however, fell short during the third round. Ball State finished the invitational in 11th place out of 18 teams.
“It is the same thing that we’ve struggled with even in the first two events,” head coach Mike Fleck said. “We just need four guys to count quality scores, we got it in the middle round, but we just didn’t put the scoring together in the first or third rounds.
The Cardinals were led by junior Kash Bellar, who finished 4th individually at the invite. Bellar finished at or under par in every round of the competition with a combined score of 5-under-par.
Sunday - Round One
Day one of the event was highlighted by a performance from junior Braxton Kuntz that saw him finish just one stroke out of the top three individually at 2-under-par with a score of 70.
Bellar followed closely behind Kuntz with a score of 69, just one stroke back from the Cardinals’ lead man. Outside of the two juniors, however, Ball State struggled in the scoring department. These struggles landed the team in 13th place at the end of the first day of competition.
Monday - Round Two
The Cardinals set an entirely different tone during the second day of the invite. Bellar and Kuntz tied in third place individually as the Cardinals shot up the leaderboard, finishing in 8th place.
“I expect that out of those two guys for sure,” Fleck said. “Both of those guys are fully capable, and they put themselves in a good position going into the final round.”
Ball State shot a combined 9-under-par, which was good for the best score of the event’s second round.
Redshirt junior Ali Khan also saw a significant improvement in his second round score, improving by 12 strokes to match Bellar’s round two score of 68.
Tuesday - Round Three
Ball State’s comeback fell flat in the third round despite another great start Tuesday. Bellar battled for a top placement individually in the competition, leading throughout a majority of the day. After struggling on the final few holes, Bellar finished just outside of the top three in fourth at a combined 5-under-par.
“We took advantage of our par fives in the middle round and we made a bunch of birdies,” Fleck said. “In the first and final rounds we just didn’t capitalize on any of our scoring opportunities.”
The other scoring leader for Ball State was Kuntz who finished inside the competition's top 20 with a combined score of 1-under-par.
Ball State heads to West Lafayette, Indiana, Oct. 9-10 for Purdue University's Fall Invite.