Redshirt sophomore C.J. Jones matched his career-best at the Mid-American Conference Championships Saturday, finishing with a total score of 144 through two rounds to tie for third place. However, it was not enough to lead Ball State Men’s Golf to a top-five finish. Inclement weather postponed Friday and Sunday’s rounds, making Saturday’s standings final.
“It was a challenging event with the weather conditions we faced [in Aurora, Ohio],” head coach Mike Fleck said. “Overall, we struggled to put everything together.”
Participating in his first MAC Championships after sitting out his 2017-18 season, Jones shot a 74 and a 70 during his two rounds to place at even par, finishing five strokes behind individual leader Duncan McNeill of Toledo.
Throughout its Spring season, Ball State has seen plenty of individual standouts, including Jones’ this past weekend and freshman Joey Ranieri’s performance at the Boilermaker Invitational. However, Fleck said inconsistencies have hurt the Cardinals when focusing on a team effort.
“It’s tough because [Jones] needed a little more help, and it’s kind of the way we’ve been most of the year,” Fleck said. “We’ve had guys step up here and there, but we need more of a collective effort. We kind of missed out on that this weekend.”
2019 Mid-American Conference Championship finishes
1. Kent State / Eastern Michigan - 581
3. Toledo - 597
4. Akron - 598
5. Bowling Green - 602
6. Ohio / Miami (Ohio) - 603
8. Ball State - 604
9. Northern Illinois - 609
The tournament also marked the final one for senior Timothy Wiseman. Hitting a 75 and a 74, Wiseman finished with a total score of 149 to tie for 13th place, marking his fourth consecutive top-15 finish in the MAC Championships.
“[Wiseman] battled, but he didn’t have his A game,” Fleck said. “He did what he could do and emptied his tank for us, not only for this spring but over the past four years. We’ll miss him; he’s great.”
Ball State was rounded out by Ranieri and redshirt sophomore Keegan Bronnenberg. Ranieri tied for 29th with a score of 153, while Bronnenberg hit 158 to tie for 38th.
The Cardinals also saw action from freshman Yianni Kostorous, who did not participate in the first round but shot a 79 in round two. Sophomore Jack Cunningham participated in the first round, hitting for a final score of 83.
Although Sunday’s action was postponed, the tournament’s annual awards banquet still took place. Wiseman earned the 2019 Men’s Golf MAC Sportsmanship Award winner as voted on by players, while Ranieri received the MAC Freshman of the Year.
While the team will lose its lone senior in Wiseman, Fleck said he believes in his young core. Next season, the Cardinals will welcome two incoming freshmen: Joey Wiseman and Evan Bone.
“We just got to keep getting better,” Fleck said. “[Wiseman’s] graduating and we don’t have any other upperclassmen, but these guys have some experience and got to see what it’s like to play in some tough conditions this Spring. We just need to move forward.”
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