Fresh off his starring role in the “This Is Sports Link” commercials, Michael VanDeventer posted his first collegiate victory April 15 as the Ball State men’s golf team finished runner-up at the Earl Yestingsmeier Memorial Invitational.
VanDeventer fired the low round of the day, a career-best 67 (-3), to come from five shots back entering the final round at Delaware Country Club. Overnight co-leader Alec Dutkowski of Taylor drained a 30-foot putt on the final hole to match him for medalist honors.
A junior from Columbus, Indiana, VanDeventer finished the tournament with a career-best 54-hole total of 208 (-2). His individual victory was the first by a Ball State player since teammate Johnny Watts at the 2015 MAC Championships.
Timothy Wiseman was right behind him in the final round with a career best of his own, carding a 68, and Watts shot an even-par 70. The Cardinals closed with a round of 359 as a team in the play-six-count-five event, also counting a 75 from Michael Makris and a 79 from Colin Proctor.
Eastern Kentucky, which entered the final day with a six-stroke lead, won with a 54-hole total of 1,076 (+26). Ball State finished three shots back.
The Cardinals made an early charge to the top Saturday and spent the rest of the day jockeying back and forth with EKU thanks to a variety of key contributions. There was the first career hole-in-one for freshman Blake Vise and an eagle from VanDeventer on his way to a 4-under opening nine.
Then there was the stretch of five birdies in six holes for Watts and a big turnaround from Makris who bounced back with a back-nine 34 after going out in 41. And there was Wiseman who was steady all day and made five birdies of his own.
The Cardinals ended the day with four players in the top 15 on the final leaderboard. Behind VanDeventer was Makris (+5) in ninth, Watts (+6) in 10th and Wiseman (+7) in 13th.
Ball State finished 13 shots clear of third-place Cleveland State (+42). Dayton (+46) was fourth, and Taylor (+47) — the 15th-ranked team in the NAIA — rounded out the top 5 in the 13-team field.
Ball State now has one event remaining before the MAC Championships. The Cardinals will tee it up April 22-23 at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate on the Scarlet Course at Ohio State University Golf Club.