Men's Golfer of the Week
Tyler Merkel, Ball State
Junior, Evansville, Ind. (Central)
Merkel placed second out of 90 golfers at this week’s Firestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, with a 36-hole score of 4-under par 140 (68-72). He finished just one shot off the lead on the par-72, 7,125-yard Firestone Country Club North Course, and his opening-day 68 was tied for the low round of the tournament. Merkel led Ball State to the team championship with a team score of 7-under par. The Cardinals pulled away from the 17-team field, winning by 13 strokes over their nearest competitor, 22nd-rated Saint Mary’s. Individually, it was the second straight top-5 result for Merkel who tied for fourth in the Cardinals’ last outing at September’s Golfweek Conference Challenge. Just three events into his junior season, he already owns nine career top-10 finishes. This week’s Firestone Invitational was scheduled for 54 holes but was shortened to 36 because of a frost delay on day one.
Ryan Harris, Akron
Freshman, Carlisle, Mass. (Concord Carlisle High School)
Freshman Ryan Harris had the best performance of his young collegiate career, finishing tied for fifth place at The Firestone Invitational, Presented by FirstEnergy Solutions, on Tuesday. Harris carded a career-low round of 70 (-2) on Monday and followed that with a round of even-par 72 to finish with a two-round score of 2-under 142. His round of 70 was the third-lowest round for the Zips this season. His tie for fifth is the lowest recorded finish by a freshman in the MAC this year. As a team, the Zips finished in fourth place.
Brian Churchill-Smith, Eastern Michigan
Junior, Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Oakville Trafalgar)
Notched another top 20 showing with a two-day tally of 146 (73-73) for 17th place at The Firestone Invitational.
Taylor Pendrith, Kent State
Junior, Richmond Hill, Ontario
At the Jack Nicklaus Invitational held at Muirfield Village, the home of the PGA TOUR's Memorial Tournament, Taylor Pendrith took home top individual honors for the Golden Flashes using a final round 74 to move up three spots into a tie for fourth. His performance led a second day rally for No. 21 Kent State which overcame an eight shot deficit to win the event by three shots over No. 23 Oklahoma State and No. 28 Vanderbilt. The entire tournament included six teams ranked in the top 30 by golfstat.com and had two others in the top 50. Pendrith shot 74-74 to finish at +4, 148. The average score by the 60-man field was 78-78 (156). The long hitting junior has two top 5s in four events this year. Heading into Monday he was rated the 62nd best player in the nation in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
Mark MacDonald, Miami
Junior, Dublin, Ohio (Dublin Jerome)
MacDonald had the best performance of his career when he tied for eighth place at the Firestone Invitational this week. He finished at one-under par for his first career top-10 placing. On Monday he shot a one-under par 71, the lowest round of the season for MacDonald and only one off his career low. He followed that up with an even-par 72 on Tuesday, the second lowest round he has shot this season.
Griffin Bauman, Northern Illinois
Senior, Crystal Lake, Ill. (Central)
Griffin Bauman had the best finish of his collegiate career last weekend when he took second at the John Dallio Memorial, hosted by DePaul at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. Bauman shot a 54-hole total of 222 to finish just one stroke behind Valparaiso’s Kyle Henning for medalist honors. Bauman opened with rounds of 75 and 73 on the first day of play at the Dallio Memorial before posted a final round 74, including three-straight birdies on the back nine. The second-place finish was Bauman’s third career top-10.
Bradley Lucas, Ohio
Senior, Worthington, Ohio (Thomas Worthington)
Bradley Lucas had a strong week for the Bobcats, finishing first on the team at the 2012 Firestone Invitational in Akron. The senior recorded a two-round score of 150, consistently carding two individual rounds of 75. Lucas finished tied for 41st at the tournament and was a part of Ohio’s 17th-place finish.
Chris Selfridge, Toledo
Sophomore, Castledawson, Northern Ireland (St. Pius X College)
Sophomore Chris Selfridge posted the second-best finish of his Rocket career by finishing in fourth place at Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic with a one-over par 214 (72-72-70). It marked his second-straight Top 10 showing and the sixth of his young Rocket career. The reigning Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year finished just three strokes out of first place and tied for first in the tournament by registering pars on 39 of 54 holes