NASHPORT, Ohio -- The Ball State women’s golf team held steady in second place Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Championships thanks to strong play down the stretch in the second round.
The five Cardinals in the lineup combined to play the back nine at Longaberger Golf Club at even par. That led to a team score of 304 (+16) for the day, a four-stroke improvement on Friday’s first round, keeping Ball State within striking distance of first-place Kent State.
The Golden Flashes turned in the best score of the tournament Saturday at 298. Their two-day total of 601 (+25) gives them an 11-stroke lead on the Cardinals with 18 holes to play. Ball State owns a nine-shot advantage over third-place Eastern Michigan.
Jenna Hague, the tournament’s individual leader entering the day, carded a round of 76 to maintain a share of the top spot at 4-over 148. Hague birdied two of her final three holes Saturday, including the 18th for the second day in a row, and will enter the final round tied atop the leaderboard with Kent State’s Jennifer Ha, who turned in Saturday’s top round at even-par 72.
Hague, seeking her second straight MAC individual crown, and Ha own a three-stroke lead over a trio of golfers, including Ball State’s Autumn Duke.
Duke picked up a birdie on the par-4 11th hole and recorded pars on the other eight holes on the back nine for a score of 35 after the turn Saturday. She backed up her opening-round 75 with a second-round 76 and is tied at 7-over for the tournament with Western Michigan’s Melissa Beurmann and Kent State’s Josee Doyon.
All five Cardinals are tied for 20th or better in the field of 45 golfers with one round to play. Sarah Westaway posted the team’s best individual score Saturday with a 3-over par 75, bouncing back strong from an opening-round 83. She climbed from a tie for 31st into a tie for 15th with a 36-hole score of 14-over after a steady round that included 14 pars.
Zoe Camus is one shot ahead of Westaway in a tie for 13th after a second-round 77. Like Duke, she recorded eight pars and one birdie on the back nine. That birdie came on her final hole of the day to put her in a tie for 13th place with one round to play.
Meghan Perry played her final 10 holes Saturday in even par and managed a round of 78. It was a solid number that proved to be the team’s throw-away score on a day when all five Ball State golfers posted scores within three shots of each other. Perry is tied for 20th through two rounds at 15-over.
Ball State will try to chase down Kent State on Sunday while playing alongside the Golden Flashes. Ball State, Kent State and Eastern Michigan are paired in the final groups with their tee times scheduled to start at 8:40 a.m.
Sunday’s start times have all been moved up because of the threat for rain during the day. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.