KENNESAW, Ga. -- The Ball State men's golf team posted a two-round total of 7-over par (583) Monday to grab second place on day one at the Pinetree Intercollegiate.
Ball State sophomore Tyler Merkel and senior Tony Lazzara are tied for third place on the individual leaderboard at 1-over par (145) heading into Tuesday's final 18 holes at the par-72, 7,108-yard Pinetree Country Club outside Atlanta.
Ball State, which posted rounds of 294 and 289, will enter the third round 12 shots off the lead of tournament host Kennesaw State (571). The Cardinals, ranked No. 34 in the country by Golfweek, have a 10-shot cushion over third-place Middle Tennessee (593).
Merkel held a share of the first-round lead Monday, opening with a morning round of 2-under par 70 before falling back slightly with a 75 in the afternoon. Lazzara played his second round in 1-under 71 to move up after a first-round 74.
Both players are eight shots back of Kennesaw State's Jimmy Beck, who carded a second-round 65 to grab the tournament lead at 7-under par (137). Another Kennesaw State golfer, Ben Greene, is in second place at 1-under (143).
Ball State seniors Brodie Williams and Alex Stinson join Merkel and Lazzara in the top 15 through two rounds. Williams is tied for sixth at 2-over par 146 (74-72), while Stinson is tied for 14th at 5-over 149 (76-73).
Fellow senior Joe Gasser rounded out the Ball State lineup in a tie for 34th in the field of 72 golfers on day one. Gasser bounced back from an opening-round 80 with a 1-over 73 in the afternoon to finish with a 36-hole total of 153.
Tuesday's final round is scheduled to get underway at 8:20 a.m. with the Ball State tee times starting at 9:23 a.m. It will be the final round of the fall season for the Cardinals, which are playing their fifth event of the year.
The field at this week's tournament includes 12 full teams -- Ball State, Kennesaw State, Florida Gulf Coast, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, Louisiana Tech, Marquette, Middle Tennessee, Samford, Northern Illinois, South Alabama and Troy -- plus individual golfers from Chattanooga.