PINEHURST, N.C. -- Tyler Merkel moved into the top spot on the leaderboard and the Ball State men's golf team climbed into a tie for third Monday in the second round of the Golf Pride Pinehurst Intercollegiate.
Monday's round was played on Pinehurst's challenging No. 2 course, which has hosted major championships. Scores were higher all around than a day earlier on the No. 6 course, but the Cardinals managed to hang tough and draw within four shots of the lead with one round to play.
Ball State turned in a score of 310 in round two to tie for the second-best score of the day. The Cardinals own a 36-hole total of 603, trailing only tournament co-leaders Old Dominion and VCU at 599. BSU is tied in the third spot with UNCG.
Merkel was one of only two golfers in the field to break 75 Monday on the par-70, 7,393-yard layout. The junior, who started the day in a tie for fourth, carded a round of 73 and will enter Tuesday's final round with a two-shot lead at 2-over par 143 for the tournament.
Tony Lazzara is tied for 13th place at 10-over par 151 after a round of 79 on Monday, giving the Cardinals two of the top 15 individuals in a field of 17 teams and 92 total golfers.
The other three golfers in the Ball State lineup are bunched together, led by Alex Stinson in 35th at 14-over 155 after a second-round 78. Joe Gasser is one shot behind Stinson in a tie for 36th after a round of 82, and McCormick Clouser is one back of Gasser in a tie for 42nd following a second-round 80.
Brodie Williams, competing this week as an individual, is also in that mix. He carded an 84 Monday and is tied with Gasser in 36th with a two-round total of 156.
The tournament concludes with the final 18 holes Tuesday back on Pinehurst No. 6, which was the site of the opening round Sunday. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.