The Ball State men’s golf team is always coming off a layoff when it hosts the Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play each February in Florida.
Normally that layoff is somewhere between three and four months since the end of the fall schedule. This time around it has been nearly a full year.
Ball State was entering the meat of its spring schedule last March when the pandemic shut down college sports. Now the Cardinals are ready to begin a sprint of a season in 2021.
This year’s match play event, the 10th annual, will take on a bit of a different look with a reduced field in this COVID year. Six teams are competing, so matchups for each of the three rounds are pre-determined as opposed to the traditional eight-team bracket.
The action gets underway Monday morning on the South Course at Lake Jovita in Dade City, Florida. Teams will earn one point for a match win and a half point for a tie. The team that accumulates the most points over the three matches will be the champion.
Ready to get this thing started with the EY Match Play.#SterlingMcIlravy previews the event, discusses the match play format and talks about making his BSU debut after a stellar junior college career.#WeComing | #LetsBeNext pic.twitter.com/0AmlZmQIgO
— Ball State Golf (@BallStateMGolf) February 5, 2021
Ball State is the No. 1 seed based on the year-end Golfstat rankings at the end of the shortened 2019-20 season. The rest of the field includes No. 2 seed Loyola Chicago, No. 3 seed and defending champion Drake, No. 4 seed UConn, No. 5 seed DePaul and No. 6 seed Evansville.
As normal, each team match will consist of six individual matches. Coach Mike Fleck‘s Ball State lineup for the season-opening event features five returning players — Joey Ranieri, Tyler Green, Jack Cunningham, Joey Wiseman and Evan Bone — and one newcomer in junior college transfer Sterling McIlravy.
Ranieri, now a junior, is one of the top returners in the MAC after logging a stroke average of 73.00 last season and firing scores of par or better in half of his rounds. Green was playing as well as anyone when last season came to an abrupt end, tying for third in a strong field at the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate in what proved to be the final event.
The Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play features two rounds on Monday and one on Tuesday. Follow @BallStateMGolf on Twitter for updates.
2021 Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play Schedule
Monday, Feb. 8 (Morning)
(1) Ball State vs. (6) Evansville
(2) Loyola Chicago vs. (5) DePaul
(3) Drake vs. (4) UConn
Monday, Feb. 8 (Afternoon)
(1) Ball State vs. (3) Drake
(2) Loyola Chicago vs. (4) UConn
(5) DePaul vs. (6) Evansville
Tuesday, Feb. 9
(1) Ball State vs. (5) DePaul
(2) Loyola Chicago vs. (3) Drake
(4) UConn vs. (6) Evansville
— to ballstatesports.com