MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s golf team signed three Indiana high school standouts to national letters of intent during the early signing period.
Michael Makris (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian HS), Michael VanDeventer (Columbus, Ind./North HS) and Johnny Watts (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern HS) each signed to play collegiately for head coach Mike Fleck’s Cardinals. All three will play their senior high school seasons in the spring.
“I am very excited these young men are members of the Ball State golf family,” Fleck said. “As we continue to compete at the highest level, this group will contribute to our program immediately. They are very competitive and accomplished golfers, all from the state of Indiana. Being able to attract three of the top junior golf student-athletes from this class will allow us to continue to build on the tradition of Ball State Golf.”
Makris tied for seventh at last year’s IHSAA State Championships with current Ball State freshman Keegan McKinney and fellow signee VanDeventer. An all-state selection in 2013, he was medalist at the sectional for Mishawaka Marian and tied for second at the regional. He owns two top-five sectional finishes and a pair of top-5 regional results in his career.
Over the summer, Makris beat a talented field at the U.S. Amateur Qualifier contested at Michigan State’s Forest Akers Golf Course. The victory earned him a spot in the prestigious U.S. Amateur Championship at Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts.
“Michael’s game is impressive,” Fleck said. “He has the length to compete on the challenging courses we play, and his golf resume has prepared him well for the next level. The experience of winning the U.S. Am qualifier and going on to compete at Brookline this past summer will help him as he transitions into top-level collegiate golf.”
VanDeventer is a three-time all-state selection at Columbus North and already owns two top-10 finishes in three appearances at the IHSAA State Championships. In addition to his seventh-place result as a junior, he placed fifth as a freshman. He has helped the Bull Dogs to a pair of runner-up team finishes at the state finals and is one of four Columbus North senior golfers signing to play collegiately.
VanDeventer managed a stroke average just above 74 last year with a low round of 69. He is a two-time individual sectional champion and a regional medalist as a freshman in 2011. He has also helped Columbus North to three sectional and three regional titles as a team.
“Michael is an outstanding young man and his golf resume speaks for itself,” Fleck said. “He has led a tradition-rich Columbus North team the last couple of years, and his competitive demeanor will be a huge asset at the college level. Michael’s success in the classroom and on the golf course will allow him to have an immediate impact on our program on all levels.”
Watts enters his senior season this spring as a three-time All-Hamilton County selection and a two-time All-Hoosier Crossroads Conference choice. He has led his Hamilton Southeastern team in stroke average in each of the previous three years. As a junior, he guided the Royals to a regional team championship and then finished 18th individually at the IHSAA State Championships.
In summer golf, Watts was the Indiana Junior Player of the Year and the Indiana Masters Tour Champion in 2012. He won the Indiana Golf Association Age Group Championship and finished 10th at the Indiana Amateur Championship in 2013. He posted a tournament stroke average just above 73.
“Johnny is another awesome young man who will fit in very well with our team,” Fleck said. “Johnny has a very consistent game and understands how to compete, having grown up in an area of the state recognized for competitive high school and junior golf. Johnny is an excellent student-athlete and I am excited he chose to be a part of our program.”