Valparaiso University head men’s golf coach David Gring has announced the additions of Owen Sander (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) and Padraic Sim (Spanish Fort, Ala. / Spanish Fort [Oregon / Washington]) to his program for the 2022-2023 season.
Sander joins the team as a true freshman, while Sim has transferred to Valpo from the University of Oregon.
Sander, who plans to pursue a degree in engineering, qualified for the 2022 Indiana High School state finals as an individual after serving as a co-captain at Carmel during his senior season. He earned all-county honors in 2021 and 2022 while also achieving 2022 academic all-conference, receiving 2021 all-conference, helping his team finish third in the state finals in 2021 and playing for the state championship winning team in 2019.
“Owen loves to compete in tournaments and he’s a terrific competitor,” Gring said. “He comes to us with a lot of tournament experience, playing an excellent schedule in both high school and during his summer months. His family has always provided a wonderful support system for him, so he brings a lot of confidence, desire and an awesome attitude to our team. He was well respected with his high school teammates and opponents, and he was a tremendous leader on that team. He’s going to fit in very well with the culture of our team.”
Sander’s other golf feats include a 2022 age group championship, finishing as the medalist at the 2022 Indiana boys state junior qualifier and winning the 2021 Golfweek Junior Tour Purdue Kampen Tournament. He was a six-time member of Team Indianapolis in the annual Yestingsmeier Cup (Ryder Cup Format), serving as a captain and going 3-0-0 in the 2021 victory over Team Evansville. In addition, Sander finished as the runner-up in the 2020 Golfweek Junior Tour Rock Hollow Tournament, the runner-up at the 2020 Indiana Age Group Championship and won the 2013 Indianapolis Junior Golf Age Group Championship.
The three-year varsity letterwinner on the course also played one year of high school soccer in addition to club soccer and baseball. His academic honors include Carmel’s scholar-athlete award, selection to the school’s leadership conference and academic all-conference honors.
In his spare time, Sander is an avid fisherman who enjoys camping. He volunteered with the Woodland Christmas Club in the Good Samaritan Network, coordinating, shopping for and delivering holiday meals for children.
“Owen has an exceptional short game, with a terrific knack to get up and down from all around the green,” Gring said. “His iron game is very sharp and he demonstrates a lot of consistency in hitting both fairways and greens. He’s a disciplined player, staying within himself and playing to his strengths. He’s a smart young man and he will perform well for us both on the golf course and in the classroom.”
Sim started his collegiate career by competing at the University of Washington, where he saw action in seven events including six as part of the lineup during his freshman season. He joined the Oregon program in 2019-20 and competed in one event before seeing action in two events as a junior in 2020-21 and being sidelined in his fourth collegiate season in 2021-22.
“Padraic comes to us with a wealth of experience from his years of junior golf and on the D1 collegiate golf level,” Gring said. “He has a ton of tournament experience, both as a former state champion on the junior golf level and playing at the University of Washington and the University of Oregon. When you have that type of experience, you bring an important level of leadership to our team and I’m excited to see that from Padraic. He’s extremely personable and very articulate, demonstrating great detail in his activities both on and off the golf course.”
Sim won the 2017 Alabama State Junior Championship, closing with a final round of 64 to win by three strokes. He claimed the title at the 2016 Golfweek Southeast Junior Invitational at three under. He also placed eighth at the 2019 Washington State Amateur Championship following his freshman year at Washington.
“Padraic brings a lot of talent to our team,” Gring said. “He’s not only gifted with distance, but he has tremendous accuracy into the fairways and greens. Like Owen, he possesses an outstanding short game and his distance control with wedges is exemplary. He also has been blessed with an exceptional support system around him, with wonderful encouragement from his parents and a lot of great coaching over the years.”
The two newcomers will join six returnees as the Beacons look to build on a strong season that saw the program finish as the runner-up at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
“Both Owen and Padraic are coming into our golf program well-prepared, and I can tell that they are hungry to take the next step with us, both athletically and academically,” Gring said. “These young men are going to be tremendous fits within our program and they’re winners. We welcome them to our team with great enthusiasm, and we look forward to not only their impact on our team, but their personal growth on the golf course, in the classroom and leading others.”