FISHERS, Ind. -- Former Ball State men's golfer Eric Steger placed second at this week's Indiana Open at The Hawthorns Golf & Country Club.
Steger’s runner-up performance highlighted a tournament that saw 15 current or former Cardinals make the cut. Four more of those players -- Tony Lazzara, Tyler Merkel, Scott Pieri and C.D. Hockersmith -- finished in the top 20.
Steger, a 2011 graduate, climbed up the leaderboard by shooting in the 60s in both the second and third rounds before closing with an even-par 72 on Thursday. He pulled within one stroke of eventual champion Seth Fair at the turn before ending the final round where he started, four shots off the pace at 7-under for the tournament.
Lazzara, a recent graduate and a member of Ball State’s 2013 NCAA tournament team, finished in a tie for ninth place at 1-over. He reached as high as third on the leaderboard at the conclusion of Wednesday's third round.
Merkel, a rising junior, bounced back from an opening-round 78 with three straight days of good golf to tie for 11th at 2-over. Pieri, who completed his Ball State career in 1990, tied with Merkel for 11th.
Hockersmith, who completed his Ball State career in 2007, turned in the lowest final round of any player in the field with a 68 to finish tied for 16th at 5-over.
Rising junior McCormick Clouser and incoming freshman Jon Schramm also made the cut along with Ball State alums Andrew Rhodes, Brodie Williams, Skip Runnels, Kyle Cox, Jon Hoover, Dean Prange and Bill Pollert.
Cox, who opened the tournament with a 68 to hold second place after day one, has had a good summer of golf. A 2007 Ball State graduate and the new head boys’ basketball coach at Park Tudor High School, Cox won the Indiana Golf Association Public Links Championship last month.
McKinney Shows Well at North & South Amateur
Incoming Ball State freshman Keegan McKinney turned in a strong week at Pinehurst No. 1, finishing in a tie for 12th place at the 35th Junior North & South Amateur Championship.
McKinney closed the 54-hole tournament Thursday with his second straight round of 69 to finish 4-under par for the event. Will Blalock of Gastonia, N.C., won out in the field of 90 golfers by finishing at 15-under for the week.