The Ball State men’s golf team is headed south to Dade City, Fla., to host the third annual Mid-American Match Play. The action begins Monday at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club.
The Cardinals, who won the inaugural event in 2012 and finished runner-up last year, will be back in action for the first time since closing their fall schedule in late October.
The eight-team tournament includes two rounds Monday and the final round Tuesday. Play is set to begin each day at 8 a.m. on Lake Jovita’s South Course with live scoring available at birdiefire.com.
Coach Mike Fleck's Ball State team is the No. 2 seed based on its Golfstat ranking and will square off in the opening round with No. 7 seed Bowling Green in a rematch of last year’s tournament final.
The other first-round contest in Ball State’s half of the draw features No. 3 seed Miami University versus No. 6 seed Xavier. The other side of the bracket will see No. 1 seed Eastern Michigan face No. 8 seed Ohio and No. 4 seed Eastern Kentucky meet No. 5 seed Toledo.
Every team will play three matches on the par-72, 7,153-yard layout. Winners will advance in the championship bracket, while losing teams will continue competition in the consolation bracket.
Clouser returns to Lake Jovita with good memories. The former Michigan State transfer made his Ball State debut at last year’s Mid-American Match Play and posted a perfect 3-0 record for the week.
McKinney, a freshman, is coming off a fall campaign when he led the team with a 74.89 stroke average, while Merkel enters his final spring season as one of the most decorated golfers in school history. A three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection, Merkel owns three career tournament titles.
Ball State will be teeing it up for the first time since the passing of former coach Earl Yestingsmeier in January. Yestingsmeier guided the Cardinals for 36 seasons, leading the program to 107 tournament titles and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. He retired in 1998 but continued to travel with the team to virtually every tournament.