The Valparaiso University men’s golf team has announced its schedule for the 2022-23 season, which features five fall tournaments and six spring events.
The 11-tournament slate begins on Labor Day weekend when the Beacons head to Harris, Mich. for the Island Resort Intercollegiate, hosted by South Dakota State University at Sage Run Golf Course. This will mark Valpo’s first appearance in that event.
“We will start this season with a lot of momentum and confidence, coming off our MVC runner-up team finish last season,” head coach Dave Gring said. “We return six of our eight players from last year, and the guys are hungry since we feel like there’s unfinished business to take care of. The 2021-22 season was historic for us with a new team scoring record, a half dozen team runner-up finishes and a tournament victory at Butler. While our goals are aggressive for this year, there’s a ‘quiet confidence’ on the team and a strong desire to compete well in every tournament and win a conference championship.”
The annual home tournament is slated for Sept. 19-20 as the Valpo Fall Invitational returns to Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. With the exception of 2020 when competition was limited due to COVID-19, Valpo has hosted a home tournament during the fall in each of the last six seasons.
“One of the highlights on our schedule every year is hosting a talented field of teams at our home course, Sand Creek Country Club,” Gring said. “This year, our field will feature five new teams that have never played in our September event, including Utah State, three Horizon League teams and Missouri State from our conference. Six different conferences will be represented in our home tournament and the field will have almost 100 players. Sand Creek Country Club is in its best shape out of the entire year in mid-September, and we will look forward to a nice fan base of alumni, family and friends watching our players compete.”
The third and final event during the month of September is scheduled for Sept. 26-27 as the Beacons make their way back to West Des Moines, Iowa for the Zach Johnson Invitational, hosted by Drake at Glen Oaks CC. This will be Valpo’s fourth appearance in that event in the last five years after the team first participated in October 2018.
October will feature one familiar event and one new event for the squad. For the third time in four years and the second straight season, Valpo will play in the Bubba Barnett Intercollegiate hosted by Arkansas State at RidgePointe CC in Jonesboro, Ark. on Oct. 10-11. The team will then compete in a tournament in Riverside, Iowa on Oct. 16-17, with the final event of the fall hosted by the University of Iowa.
The spring slate tees off on Feb. 12-14 with the Advance Golf Partners Collegiate at Hammond Creek GC in Palm City, Fla., a tournament that is hosted by UNC Greensboro. Valpo will compete in that tournament for the second straight year. The Beacons will fly to The Valley of the Sun for the GCU Invitational, which is set for March 13-14 at GCU Golf Course in Phoenix. That will also represent a return visit to a destination featured on last season’s schedule.
Golfweek/AGT is set for March 27-29 in South Carolina before the Beacons return to the Midwest for the Hoosier Collegiate at The Pfau Course in Bloomington, Ind. on April 8-9. The final tournament of the regular season will be a new event on Valpo’s schedule as the team visits State College, Pa. to play in Penn State’s Rutherford Intercollegiate on April 14-15.
After finishing as the team runner-up and boasting the individual medalist last season, Valpo will look to take the next step by capturing the Missouri Valley Conference title at this season’s MVC Championship, which will take place on April 23-25 at Oakwood CC in Coal Valley, Ill.
“Our 11-tournament schedule will be the most competitive schedule that we have played in my 12 years of coaching,” Gring said. “We will play five tournaments in the fall and six tournaments in the spring, and four of those events will be played on golf courses that we have never seen before. We will travel to eight different states and compete against a wide variety of talented teams in all four regions of our country. I’m excited for our team to really be tested throughout the year and compete on some well-designed and high-quality golf courses.”
Coming off a banner season for the program, Valpo returns six players including its top three scoring averages from last season while adding a pair of talented newcomers to the mix.
“We graduated two of our seniors last year and we will certainly miss their leadership and levels of talent,” Gring said. “Two of our six returnees received MVC honors last year, with Caleb and Anthony being named all-conference and Anthony finishing as medalist in the conference championship and being named Newcomer of the Year. Our six returnees accounted for 55 of our 59 rounds at or under par, four tournament medalist finishes and 14 Top-5 individual finishes. We will be adding a true freshman and a graduate transfer to our lineup this year. All eight of our players had a terrific summer of competition and will return to school ready to compete this fall.”