MUNCIE, Ind. – Led by Albert Jennings’ final-round 73, the Ball State men’s golf team held firm in second place Tuesday to close out the Earl Yestingsmeier Memorial Invitational at Delaware Country Club.
The Cardinals put a dent in a sizable Toledo lead late in the round but finished eight shots behind the Rockets with a three-round total of 1,108. Six golfers competed for each of the 11 teams with the top five scores counting, as opposed to the usual five-count-four format.
Ball State turned in a score of 378 as a team for the final round on a difficult day with gusting winds and chillier temperatures. Zach Yinger and Derek Kundenreich both shot 74, while the Cardinals also counted a 77 from Connor O’Neal and an 80 from Tyler Ostrom.
Jennings was Ball State’s top finisher for the event at 5-over par 215, taking third place for his best career finish. Toledo’s Otto Black closed with a 75 but still managed to win by five strokes, finishing as the only player in red figures at 1 under. Marian’s Vince Drahman was second at 4 over.
The tournament named for former Ball State coach Earl Yestingsmeier featured his former pupils leading the top two teams. Current Cardinals coach Mike Fleck and Toledo coach Jamie Broce both played for Yestingsmeier at Ball State. Fleck also coach Broce for his final year in Muncie.
“It was fitting for our teams to finish one, two,” Fleck said. “I know if we couldn’t win it, coach would have wanted Jamie’s team to win. Our guys hung in there in some challenging conditions today; we just could not quite catch Toledo.”
The Cardinals placed four players in the top 10 on the final individual leaderboard. Following Jennings in third, Yinger and Kundenreich tied for seventh at 10-over par 220. Ostrom was two shots behind them in a tie for ninth at 222.
It was the best career finish for Yinger and also for Kundenreich, the local product from Yorktown who was competing in just his second collegiate event.
O’Neal tied for 38th with a 54-hole score of 235, while Quentyn Carpenter tied for 54th at 243 to round out the lineup for the Cardinals.
Ball State’s home tournament has been named for Yestingsmeier since 2001-02, but this year was the first time it was a memorial event. The long-time coach and sports information director passed away in January at age 80. He led the Cardinals to 107 tournament titles and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances during his 36 years as golf coach.
Ball State will now turn its attention to the Mid-American Conference Championships, slated for May 1-3. The event will be played at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
For the most up-to-date news on Ball State men’s golf, follow @bsuathletics, @BallStateMGolf and @mikefleck on Twitter.