NAPLES , Fla. -- The Ball State men’s golf team is back in Florida for the second time in five weeks to host the inaugural Talis Park Challenge presented in part by globalVCard paysystems.
The 54-hole event will take place Sunday and Monday at Talis Park Golf Club in Naples. Live scoring will be available through birdiefire.com.
The 14-team field includes five of the top 100 in the latest Golfstat rankings, headlined by No. 21 Vanderbilt. That group also includes Indiana (85), Austin Peay (86), FGCU (93) and Notre Dame (95).
Ball State is one of five Mid-American Conference teams competing, joining Eastern Michigan, Miami University, Northern Illinois and Toledo. Cincinnati, IUPUI, Wichita State and Xavier round out the field.
Ball State will be teeing it up for the second time in the spring portion of its schedule. The Cardinals hosted the Mid-American Match Play in February at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City, Fla., where they won all three of their matches and defeated Eastern Michigan in the finals.
Tyler Merkel was named the MAC Golfer of the Week after a perfect record at the match play event and leads the Cardinals into Talis Park. Ball State’s lineup will also feature McCormick Clouser, Keegan McKinney, James Blackwell and Zach Yinger. Albert Jennings will compete as an individual.
Blackwell was also unbeaten at Lake Jovita, posting a 2-0-1 record, while McKinney, a freshman, owns Ball State’s best stroke average on the season at 74.89.
Talis Park, designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, has been ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top 20 courses in Florida. Ball State alum Dave Witt serves as the club’s director of golf. The par-72 layout will play to 7,025 yards for this week’s event.
The teams will play 36 holes Sunday and 18 holes Monday with shotgun starts both days at 8:30 a.m. Ball State is paired with Vanderbilt and Indiana for the first two rounds.