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Tony Lazzara's fifth-place finish was the best of his career.
Photo by: BSU Photo Services /BSU Photo Services
Men's Golf Claims Second at Pinetree Intercollegiate

KENNESAW, Ga. -- The Ball State men's golf team concluded its fall season Tuesday by wrapping up the Pinetree Intercollegiate in second place out of 12 teams.

The Cardinals maintained their spot on the leaderboard with a final-round score of 301 to finish with a 54-hole total of 884 (294-289-301). Ball State, ranked No. 34 nationally by Golfweek, was 18 strokes better than the third-place team, Louisiana Tech (902).

Tournament host Kennesaw State took first place with a 54-hole score of 4-under par 860 at the par-72, 7,108-yard Pinetree Country Club outside Atlanta. The Owls had the top two individual finishers as Jimmy Beck claimed medalist honors at 7-under par 209 and Ben Greene was the runner-up at 1-under 215.

Ball State junior Tyler Merkel tied for third in the field of 72 golfers. He closed with a round of 74 on Tuesday to finish at 3-over 219 (70-75-74). It was the fourth consecutive top-5 result for Merkel, who tied for fourth at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, placed second at the Firestone Invitational and tied for fifth at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational.

Senior Tony Lazzara carded a final-round 75 and finished one shot back of Merkel in fifth place at 4-over 220 (74-71-75). It was the best career finish for Lazzara, who now has three consecutive top-15 results after tying for 12th at Firestone and 10th at the Yestingsmeier.

Seniors Brodie Williams, Joe Gasser and Alex Stinson rounded out the Ball State lineup as all three finished within one shot of each other.

Williams tied for 15th with a score of 10-over 226 (74-72-80) for his second straight top-15 finish. Gasser made the Cardinals' biggest move of the day with a final-round 74 to climb 14 spots into a tie for 20th at 11-over 227 (80-73-74). Stinson also tied for 20th at 11-over 227 (76-73-78).

The field at this week's tournament included 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.

It was the fifth event this season for Ball State, which concluded the fall portion of its schedule with one tournament victory (Firestone) to go along with this week's runner-up finish and one fifth-place result (Golfweek Conference Challenge).

The Cardinals are now off from competition until Feb. 11-12 when they will host the MAC Match Play at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City, Fla.

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