Coach Mike Fleck, strong senior class look to bring Ball State NCAA golf glory
Four years ago, Ball State University golf coach Mike Fleck recruited four highly touted talents to come play for him. Four years later, this returning core of seniors and some gifted new finds are primed to seize control of the Mid-American Conference and send some major college programs back home licking their wounds.
Fleck watches his charges intently as the play one of Indianapolis' gems, The Trophy Club, designed by Ball State grad Tim Liddy, a former protege of Pete Dye. "We like to travel around and play different courses because it's always a little tougher at a foreign course. We want our guys on the travel squad to have no fear when it comes to playing on someone else's course" Fleck says strongly. "These guys are very tough mentally."
One of the teams anchors is C.D. Hockersmith, who is best known for battling Michelle Wie at the Publinx in 2005 and for making the cut into match pay at the 2004 U.S. Amateur. Hockersmith looks equally at ease rolling in 30 footers over Liddy's devilishly undulating greens as he does saving par from fairway bunkers. "C.D.'s a thoroughbred" notes Fleck. "In the clutch, he can draw on that national-level experience."
C.D. is joined by fellow four year veterans Wayne Denger, Andy Skillman and Austin Steele. Denger and Skillman provided fireworks last year at their home tournament never seen before in Ball State history. Skillman crafted a masterful 64 and sat in the clubhouse with the school record for lowest 18 hole score. He didn't celebrate that feat long as minutes later, Denger posted a 63 and snatched the honors. Happily for both, BSU came form behind and won the tournament.
The future looks bright even after graduation next year as two talented freshmen enter BSU with equally superlative AJGA and high school accolades. Ross Cosat, whose kickin' Afro makes him look like the bass player for The Hair Bear Bunch was the number 1 ranked senior in Indiana while Travis Smith was a Rolex All-American honoree.
With such a solid core, they will be a string contender for the Mid American Conference Championship and could even beat many of the Big Ten colleges at Midwest tournaments.
Liddy, was elated that the team chose to play the Trophy Club. "I'm so glad they were there. Go Ball State!"
Above: BSU players make their way around the green and Cosat's afro.