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Wiseman on par at Ball State

Wiseman on par at Ball State Wiseman on par at Ball State

Happy Gilmore famously yelled at his golf ball to ‘Just go home.’
Ball State University senior-to-be Timothy Wiseman has found his golf home on the Muncie campus.
There isn’t a hockey stick in Wiseman’s bag, nor is his golf game as high strung as the fictional character. For Ball State, Wiseman has been one of the steady golfers sent out for competitive rounds.
During his recently completed junior season, Wiseman competed in all 31 rounds the Cardinals played in, carding an average score of 74.71. As an All-state performer in high school, Wiseman made an early commitment to Ball State during his junior season. It was the same year Wiseman went on to finish tied for fifth at the Indiana High School Athletic Association state finals.
‘I feel this is the right place for me,’ Wiseman said. ‘There were other schools I considered, but I committed pretty early because it felt like home for me. It turned out right. Coach (Mike) Fleck has been welcoming and gave me confidence to know Ball State was right for me.’
Ball State may not be located in the Sun Belt, but the schedule the Cardinals play doesn’t shy away from universities that offer more sunny practice months. In 2017-18, they played in an event hosted by Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Vanderbilt University’s home tournament in Nashville, an event in Hawaii and two in North Carolina.
‘The schedule we get to play is against some of the best teams,’ Wiseman said. ‘This past fall we went to Dallas and played against several ranked teams. Having those opportunities throughout the year is a huge benefit. There are guys on (professional) tour who went to schools you wouldn’t consider a power five conference golf school. The biggest thing is going somewhere, playing and competing.’
Competing is in the blood for Wiseman. The middle of three brothers, their competitive chops may have originated at home once they exited the back door of their family home in Corydon. Sure, the golf course was across the street, but a basketball hoop was closer. The three siblings ‘ older brother Tommy is a student at the University of Southern Indiana and younger brother Joey is a junior at Corydon Central High School ‘ excelled in golf and basketball at the high school level.
‘Tommy wasn’t as passionate about golf, but he may be the most competitive out of all of us,’ Timothy said. ‘We’ve had so many scraped knees and elbows from our full-court basketball games in our backyard. We could compete so easily just by walking out the back door.’
Growing up across the street from Old Capital Golf Club helped shape the competitive fire in golf as well.
‘I guess it is in our blood,’ Timothy said. ‘We should thank our parents (Michael and Jennifer Wiseman) for that. They both played sports and were successful. I’m thankful for that because it has helped all three of us not only in sports, but in life. Dad played basketball in high school and is a huge fan of all sports. We happened to love it, and he’s supported us.’
Wiseman said he can usually spot the former multi-sport athletes who are on a golf team.
‘You can tell,’ he said. ‘I think it’s valuable to play as many sports in high school as you can. You get that competitive edge. It benefited me a lot, and I only played two for the most part because golf consumed my time in the spring and fall. I was able to play basketball in the winter.’
Wiseman still finds time between golf and classwork to put up some shots at the rec facility at Ball State. Golf and school (his major is finance) consume much of college life.
‘Most days consist of school and golf, which is OK; I wouldn’t want it any other way,’ he said. ‘A lot of days it depends on the weather. Whenever it is warm, we try to go out and play 18 holes. It’s hard to put time aside to study. On a cold day, we will come inside for a couple of hours to do some short game drills.’
Muncie’s climate tends to be cold in the winter months with snow chances sometimes lasting through March. While it may not be ideal for golf (Wiseman said if the temperature reaches the 40s, they play outdoors), a new indoor facility ‘ The Yestingsmeier Golf Center ‘ offers 6,000 square feet of options.
There is a large putting green, chipping area and hitting bays. The aid of technology allows golfers to use TrackMan simulators to track flights of golf shots hit into a large white backdrop.
‘The TrackMan sits behind you and can pick up any stat you could imagine,’ Wiseman said. ‘It’s very accurate … The putting green has full functionality. You can chip into it. You can pick any type of putt you want to practice, up the green, down the green and any slope. It’s a good opportunity to get better when it’s cold outside.’
There’s also a club fitting/adjusting room, locker room, conference room and a lounge area.
When outside, local practice rounds take place at the nearby Delaware Country Club and The Players Club at Woodland Trails.
‘Some of the courses we get to see is probably the best perk,’ Wiseman said. ‘We get to see some of the best courses in the nation. We were able to play Pinehurst No. 2 once. That is one of the most well-known courses in America, having hosted the U.S. Open. We get to go to Hawaii to play; you can’t beat that. Even the local courses we get to play are private, which we wouldn’t normally get a chance to get on.’
A practice round at Pinehurst No. 2 saw Wiseman and his teammate play from specially marked yellow plates on the tee boxes signifying the starting point when the U.S. Open was played there.
‘Our coach said go find them and tee it up right next to it,’ Wiseman said. ‘It was brutal but fun to say you played from those tees.’
Wiseman has had past success at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate, placing second (4-over par 217) as a sophomore as the team won the championship.
This season, Wiseman placed third at the Mid-American Conference Championships, finishing two strokes back. He was three times the lowest scorer for the Cardinals in tournaments. He went unbeaten in three matches at the Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play, helping him earn MAC Golfer of the Week honors.
‘Matchplay is one of my favorite formats,’ Wiseman said. ‘We don’t get a lot of matchplay events, but it changes the way I play. Playing conservative goes out the window when you are in matchplay. You become more aggressive.’
Born in Nashville, Tenn., and his father a Vanderbilt University alumni, Wiseman said participating in the annual Mason Rudolph Championships at the Vanderbilt Legends Club is a special event.
‘Playing at their course, seeing the star when I grew up as a fan and now I am playing against them, has a special place in my heart,’ he said. ‘Plus, I have a lot of family that gets to come out and support.’
Wiseman describes his game as conservative but aggressive when he needs to be.
‘Par is always good in college,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to not get really aggressive if you’ve made a few bogeys. I always remind myself that par is always good.’
Time management has been a big transition from high school to college golf. On the course, it’s dealing with the increased length and more challenging courses.
‘There are days where we are playing 36 holes in a day,’ Wiseman said. ‘It’s long days on hard golf courses. You are spending more time struggling and grinding rather than coasting like you could sometimes do in high school.’
As Wiseman has matured, he’s gained 20 to 30 pounds of muscle, thanks to a weight-lifting program which has added about 30 yards to his drive.
‘My short game has improved because I’ve been forced to get better because of the challenging greens we play on,’ he said. ‘Short game is something I am always trying to improve throughout the season.’
Wiseman also plays the role of big brother to Joey when it comes to golf. They are competitive with one another and both plan to play in the annual Old Capital Invitational in Corydon on June 8 and 9. Joey is in the midst of a stellar high school season and is being recruited by several Division I programs.
‘One thing I have tried to do with him is stay distant in the recruiting because I don’t want to impact the whole process he is going through,’ Timothy said. ‘I want it solely up to him because he is considering Ball State. I don’t want to influence him one way or the other, but I am fully supporting where he chooses to play college golf. I try my hardest to just be his brother and show him I care about what he is doing. I tried to go to as many of his basketball games as I could and get updates on golf, too.’
Is golf an option beyond college for Timothy?
‘I definitely have the desire to play after college,’ Timothy said. ‘I am going to school as a back-up plan. I try not to think about getting to that point, but I do strive to get there. I don’t let it consume my mind, rather stay in the present. I enjoy college golf. After graduation, I will look at more specifics on what I can do to get where I want to go.’
Wiseman plans to compete as an amateur in several summer events. Many PGA Tour events have qualifiers open to all golfers. Within the state, the Indiana Golf Association offers events, including the Indiana Amateur Championship and Indiana Open Championship.
Most recently, Wiseman competed with amateurs and professionals in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Delaware Country Club in Muncie. Out of 65 competitors, Wiseman earned one of four qualifying spots by shooting a 1-under par 69. He had a string of three straight birdies on holes 16 through 18.
The next step is sectional qualifying, which will take place June 4 at 10 golf courses in the United States (additional sectionals take place in Japan and England). It’s the final stage for a shot at the U.S. Open (one of four PGA Major Championships), which is to be played June 14 through 17 at Shinnecock Hills. Players at the sectionals will compete over 36 holes in one day with the number of qualifying spots at each location determined by the field’s strength and size.
It’ll likely take a calmer approach than Happy Gilmore for Wiseman to reach the U.S. Open and take his shot at some of the best Shooter McGavins in the golf world.