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The Mason Rudolph Championship gets underway Friday morning.
Photo by: Jim Dostie
Menís Golfers to Face Nationís Best at Vanderbilt

The Ball State men’s golf team has challenged itself with a demanding schedule all season long, and this week is assured to be no different.

Top-ranked Alabama headlines the field at the Mason Rudolph Championship, which begins Friday outside Nashville. Florida State, the No. 12 team in the country, and tournament host Vanderbilt, ranked 14th, will also be competing.

After this weekend, Ball State will have seen 11 of the top 15 teams in the current Golftstat rankings at least once this season, some of them more than once.

The tournament features 54 holes over three days on the South Course at the Vanderbilt Legends Club. The teams will go off split tees at 8 a.m. CT (9 a.m. ET) each day, and live scoring will be available at

Alabama, Florida State and Vanderbilt join seven more of the nation’s top 80 teams at the event. Mercer (33), Kennesaw State (35), Georgia Southern (48), Middle Tennessee (56), Louisville (59), East Tennessee State (62) and College of Charleston (76) will also be teeing it up.

Rice (108), Ball State (130), Southern Miss (133) and Western Kentucky (200) round out the 14-team field in Franklin, Tenn.

Ball State will be in action as a team for the first time since hosting the Talis Park Challenge in Naples, Fla., in mid-March. The Cardinals used a strong final round to finish seventh at that tournament, which was won by this week’s host, Vanderbilt.

Freshman Keegan McKinney tied for 13th at Talis Park for his best collegiate finish and leads the Cardinals for the season with a 74.81 stroke average. Teammate McCormick Clouser also enters this week’s action fresh off a top-15 result.

The Ball State lineup also features three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection Tyler Merkel along with James Blackwell and Zach Yinger.

The Vanderbilt Legends Club South Course plays to a par of 71 and will be set up at 7,100 yards for the Mason Rudolph Championship. Vanderbilt has hosted the event dating back to 2001, but Ball State will be competing for the first time.

This week’s tournament is the first of three remaining for the Cardinals before the MAC Championships at the beginning of May.

For the most up-to-date news on Ball State men’s golf, follow @bsuathletics, @BallStateMGolf and @mikefleck on Twitter.

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