Fiery Timothy Wiseman seeks bigger things at Ball State

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Fiery Timothy Wiseman seeks bigger things at Ball State

Digital Edition

Fiery Timothy Wiseman seeks bigger things at Ball State

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – If Timothy Wiseman needs to find confidence, he doesn’t have to look far.

The Ball State senior has worn a wristband since the summer, one with a tiny Shinnecock Hills logo and 118th U.S. Open marking. It’s a reminder of his having qualified for that championship, a feat precious few current college golfers matched.

“(The wrist band) is just something if I ever start to doubt myself, I can just look down and be like, ‘OK, you’re capable of playing good golf,’ ” Wiseman said.

And he’s intent on continuing to prove that.

Wiseman, 21, has begun his senior season ostensibly the same person but imbued with the knowledge of what he’s done. He gets reminded of it often, as other students in class will recognize him, as do those while he walks around the Ball State campus.

There are also people who see him wearing a Ball State shirt, ask him if he’s on the golf team and if he knows the guy who played in the U.S. Open. He likes to coyly reply, “Yeah, I know him pretty well.”

It wasn’t just the U.S. Open appearance. His qualifying for Shinnecock, where he shot 83-75 to miss the cut, got him the exposure for spots into the U.S. Amateur and Western Amateur. He’d miss the 36-hole stroke-play cut at both, but a closeup look at some of his most accomplished college peers had Wiseman believing he could play with anyone.

Mike Fleck, Ball State’s men’s coach, remains most impressed by Wiseman’s composure to fight back from that rough opening 83 at Shinnecock with a much better Friday.

“It looked like he belonged out there, that he wasn’t just a guy that happened to get lucky and get in the field,” Fleck said. “I think that was a lot of validation for him.”

Now it’s about building on it. Wiseman’s Open qualification became such a story because it was seen as a surprise considering his finishing the 2017-18 college season ranked 724th. His highest end-of-season ranking in three college seasons is 679.

He has much higher goals this campaign, hoping to finish in the top 270 in the rankings to reach NCAA regionals as an individual. The senior captain also has a focus on leading a young but talented squad to regionals as a team for the first time since 2013 (when Ball State finished fifth to qualify for the NCAA Championship).

He feels his ability is there, it just needs to be applied more often.

“I know I’m capable of really high-level golf, I just haven’t been able to consistently put a lot of good rounds and finishes together,” Wiseman said. “That’s the focus, and I have no doubt that’s going to change and I’ll shoot up the rankings.”

Wiseman has worked harder on his short game to build that consistency. It also helps that his appearance at Shinnecock did precisely the opposite of get to his head.

The senior has screenshots on his phone of headlines that referred to him as a surprise competitor at Shinnecock and looks at them from time to time as motivation.

“I wake up with a chip on my shoulder every day,” Wiseman said.

For Fleck, Wiseman’s ability to maintain his edge sounds familiar.

“He’s cut from that cloth of being a fighter, and it’s kind of cool because that’s what I want our program to be all about,” Fleck said.

Wiseman’s opening round of the season, a 2-over 74 that has him T-43 at the Golfweek Conference Championship, could prove to be a nice early test of his fighter mentality.

As he sees it, whatever happens his experience allows him to stay believing.

“I’ve put myself in the hardest and toughest conditions,” Wiseman said. “I always tell myself, if you can go play Shinnecock (at the Open) and not lose your mind, you can handle pretty much anything.” Gwk

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