SEASIDE, Calif. -- McCormick Clouser closed with a round of 1-under par 71 to lead the Ball State men’s golf team Tuesday in the final round of the Saint Mary’s Invitational.
The Cardinals posted a team score of 10-over 298 as a team as the action returned to the Bayonet Golf Course. After 54 holes over two days and two courses, Ball State finished in 15th place among the 19 teams in the field with a total score of 907.
California, last year’s top-ranked team that won an NCAA-record 12 tournaments, ran away with first place. The Bears were 10-under par for the tournament with a total of 854, topping second-place Oregon by 30 strokes.
San Diego was third as a team and also featured the individual medalist, Grant Forrest, who posted a one-shot victory at 7-under for the tournament. Cal’s Michael Weaver was second on a final leaderboard that had only four golfers in red figures.
Both of those players competed in major championships this year with Forrest playing in the British Open and Weaver playing in both the Masters and U.S. Open. They headlined a field that included 10 teams ranked among the top 100 nationally last season.
Clouser jumped 25 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for 34th place Tuesday with his best round of the week. The junior, who overcame a triple bogey on his card by racking up six birdies on the day, finished with a 54-hole total of 8-over par 224.
Tyler Merkel ended up one shot behind Clouser in a tie for 38th in the field of 104 golfers. The senior carded a 73 in Tuesday’s round to close the tournament at 9-over 225.
The Cardinals also counted a 76 from Keegan McKinney and a 78 from James Blackwell on the final day. McKinney was steady all week on his way to a tie for 42nd, finishing one shot back of Merkel and two behind Clouser with a total of 226.
Blackwell ended with a three-round score of 235, while Jon Schram -- who shot 82 on Tuesday -- finished the tournament at 236. Quentyn Carpenter played as an individual this week, coming in a 239 after a final-round 83.
Ball State will conclude a busy stretch of four tournaments in four weeks when the Cardinals return to action Sunday at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational. The 54-hole tournament features another strong field and will be played over two days on the Scarlet Course at The Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio.
California is again in the field next week along with teams from the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and SEC. Two other Mid-American Conference teams -- Kent State and Eastern Michigan -- will also be there.