Ball State Men’s Golf took down three Big Ten teams en route to their fifth place at the Fighting Illini Spring Collegiate.
Illinois is ranked No. 3 in the nation and Northwestern is ranked No. 32, with both teams in the field. Ball State beat Nebraska, Michigan and Indiana.
The Cardinals were at the Atkins Golf Club in Urbana, Illinois, and the roster consisted of sophomore Kash Bellar, freshman Carter Smith, graduate student Joey Ranieri, redshirt sophomore Ali Khan and redshirt sophomore Griffin Hare.
“The combination of the difficulty of the golf course and the weather conditions that we experienced this weekend, made it quite a challenge,” head coach Mike Fleck said. “It was reflected in the scoring as you probably saw across the board.”
Saturday - Round One
Hare led Ball State in round one with his even-par score of 71, following him was Khan with his 3-over-par 74.
Ranieri posted a 4-over-par 75 followed by Bellar and his 8-over-par 79.
The final score came from Smith who posted a 13-over-par 84.
“The conditions were tough,” Fleck said. “We had the cold and wind out of the north and northwest and cold temperatures and cold wind and tough golf course. I was really impressed at the end of the day with the gutsy performance we had in the grid even though our scoring in that first round was the highest of the three, it was pretty good given the conditions.”
Saturday - Round Two
Round two saw most Cardinal golfers drop in score.
Ranieri and Smith both led with their scores of a 1-under-par 70.
Bellar posted a 5-over-par 76 and Khan shot a 6-over-par 77.
Hare posted a 10-over-par 81.
At the end of round two, the Cardinals were in third place, ahead of ranked No. 32 Northwestern.
“Our schedule has been really competitive here over the month of April and that's exactly what I wanted,” Fleck said. “These experiences are hopefully going to get us ready and prepared to play at the MAC (Mid-American Conference) Championship. Being in that final pairing today with Illinois, they are probably going to be a team to compete for a national championship, and Northwestern, a top 30 team. Those experiences hopefully will bode well for us going into next week.”
Sunday - Round Three
Three Cardinals led in the third round with scores of 3-over-par 74, they were Bellar, Khan and Smith.
Ranieri posted a 4-over-par 75 followed by Hare who shot a 6-over-par 77.
At the end of the rounds, Ranieri was within the top 15, finishing tied for 13th.
Just seven days to the MAC Championship on April 30 to May 1 at Canebrake Golf Club in Athens Alabama.
“There are some things that we need to clean up still and we need to execute a little bit better in some situations,” Fleck said. “So we just really need to kind of tighten things up and get ready to go down there and compete and hopefully try to play for a top spot.”