ANDERSON — Ball State’s Alex Stinson closed out his collegiate career with two birdies out of his final five holes, but it wasn’t enough to help the Cardinals make the cut at the NCAA Golf Championships.
BSU finished last out of the 30 teams in the field but that didn’t dampen Stinson’s enthusiasm for the journey and the accomplishment.
“We are No. 30 on the leader board, but we’re the only team without a number (indicating a national ranking) next to our name,” said Stinson. “We were one of the best of the best. We didn’t get here by luck or by chance. It was awesome to be here and compete. If you’re not in the top eight, then it doesn’t matter where you finish because you’re going home. No. 3 UCLA is going home.”
The Cardinals posted a team score of 293 Thursday for a total of 872 (+32) for the three rounds. Stinson was +3 on Thursday but -1 for the final nine holes. His total for the tourney to par was +9. Tony Lazzara was +6 to lead BSU.
“What an opportunity for our program to be here this week,” said Ball State coach Mike Fleck. “Our goal was to come here and compete, and not just participate, and we did that this week.”
Stinson doesn’t believe it has really registered that his college-playing days are no more.
“It’s starting to sink in a little bit,” the Liberty Christian graduate said. “I’m getting messages through social media telling me I had a great four years and things like that. It will probably sink in more in August when I’m not getting ready to go back to school.”
The trip to the NCAA tournament verifies his decision to go to Ball State.
“I thought I’d be more emotional when I walked off the last green,” said Stinson. “But there were just too many great things that happened to be sad. From the moment I set foot on campus I knew I had made the right choice. This was what being a student athlete is all about. We put Ball State on the national map. We were the only school from Indiana. I think we have left our mark on the program and hopefully it will help the team and the coach going forward.”