BATESVILLE — The following information is courtesy Tyson Mathews, Ball State Univerity Assistant Director of Athletic Media Relations
Mike Fleck, a 1989 graduate of Batesville High School, has coached the Ball State men’s golf team to a berth in the NCAA Nationals …
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Ball State men’s golf team is on its way to the NCAA Nationals for the first time since 1986 after defeating San Diego State in a playoff Saturday for the fifth and final qualifying spot out of the Pullman Regional.
Alex Stinson’s up-and-down for birdie out of a greenside bunker on the par-5 18th hole sealed the playoff victory for Ball State, whose four counting scores on the hole bettered San Diego State’s by one.
With all the other regionals complete at the time of the playoff, Ball State became the 30th and final team to punch its ticket to Capital City Club in Atlanta for Nationals, May 28-June 2.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Ball State coach Mike Fleck said. “Our motto the last few years has been to stay relevant, and we did that this week. Coming down those last few holes (in regulation), I kind of thought we had lost the opportunity, but we didn’t. It’s amazing what these guys have done and what they continue to do. And we’re still relevant.”
The celebration that followed Stinson’s birdie looked less likely nearly two hours earlier when the Cardinals finished a challenging final round in cold and windy conditions three shots behind San Diego State at 8-under par for the tournament. But the Aztecs were still on the course, and by the time they finished, the teams were tied for fifth.
A playoff ensued with the 10 golfers from the two teams going off in two groups from the 18th tee. The top four scores from each team would determine the winner.