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Tyler Merkel finished fourth individually at last year's MAC Championships.
Photo by: Jim Dostie
Menís Golf Teeing It Up in Carmel for MAC Tourney
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MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State men's golf team makes the short trip to Carmel, Ind., this weekend for the Mid-American Conference Championships at Prairie View Golf Club.

The 72-hole event, hosted by Toledo, begins with 36 holes Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday with 18 holes each day.

Ball State is paired with Akron for Friday's action and is scheduled to go off the first tee at 8:30 a.m. for the first round and 1 p.m. for the second. Live scoring throughout the tournament is available at birdiefire.com.

Kent State has won the past five MAC Championships and enters this year's tournament as the highest ranked team in the field at No. 39 by Golfstat. The Golden Flashes feature the past two MAC individual medalists in Corey Connors and Taylor Pendrith.

The next four teams in the nine-team field are separated by only 11 spots in the rankings: Ball State (131), Eastern Michigan (136), Akron (138) and Miami University (142).

Prairie View is a course that is familiar to most of the Ball State golfers, being predominantly from Indiana. Senior Tyler Merkel won the Indiana Amateur Championship there in 2012.

Merkel -- a three-time All-MAC selection -- owns a pair of top-10 finishes at the league championships in his career, including a fourth-place result in last year's tournament at Longaberger Golf Club.

He is joined in the lineup this week by a quartet of players that will be making its MAC Championships debut: Keegan McKinney, McCormick Clouser, James Blackwell and Albert Jennings. Though relatively young, coach Mike Fleck's Cardinals have prepared themselves throughout the season by playing a schedule that ranks as the 58th most challenging in the country by Golfweek.

McKinney, a freshman from Avon, Ind., leads the Cardinals with a 74.93 stroke average, followed closely by Clouser at 75.07. Those two, along with Merkel and Blackwell, have been fixtures in the Ball State lineup this season.

Jennings earned his spot by virtue of a third-place finish at Ball State's Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational in the final event of the regular season.

Prairie View, playing host to the MAC Championships for the first time, is the only Robert Trent Jones, Jr., golf course in Indiana. It is a par-72 track that will play to 7,073 yards. This year marks only the fifth time the tournament has been played in the Hoosier State.

For the most up-to-date news on Ball State men’s golf, follow @bsuathletics, @BallStateMGolf and @mikefleck on Twitter.

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