The Valparaiso University men’s golf team climbed two spots in the team standings on Monday by posting its best round of the tournament with a 297 to close out the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate. Sophomore Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) had the best round of the day by a Valpo golfer, while freshman Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine)finished the tournament leading the way among Valpo participants.
How It Happened
- As a team, Valpo jumped from seventh to fifth over the final 18 holes, leapfrogging Sacred Heart and Youngstown State in the standings. The only teams to finish ahead of Valpo were North Carolina, Missouri, Delaware and Boston College.
- Valpo finished the tournament with a 902 (+38), edging out Youngstown State by one stroke for fifth place. The team’s 297 on the final day marked the third-best Round 3 score in the 14-team field.
- VanArragon carded a 75 on the final day to finish the tournament at 222 (+6). His showing was good enough to lead the team in his Valpo debut and finish tied for 16th in the 88-player field.
- Willis closed out the tournament on a high note, carding a 72 on Monday. He finished the Labor Day event at 229 (+13).
- Valpo received consistent scoring on Monday as all four scores that counted were 75 or better and three of the four were exactly 75. Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) and Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) joined VanArragon with that score. They completed the event at 230 and 231, respectively.
Inside the Round
- Valpo’s best performances came on Par 4 holes with a 4.30 average, the fifth-best in the tournament.
- Valpo finished second among the 14 teams with 159 pars, behind only Delaware with 168.
- The team had 33 birdies, led by VanArragon with nine.
- North Carolina was the team champion with an 822 (-42), while North Carolina’s Ryan Burnett went -18 for medalist honors.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“Going into today’s final round, we discussed the importance of hitting more fairways off the tee and giving ourselves more opportunities for birdies. There is certainly a premium in hitting fairways on this golf course and while our birdie production wasn’t where we wanted it, we made a lot of quality pars.”
“We improved with each round in this tournament and I was very pleased with the effort today, especially with a very wet golf course from all the rain last night and during half of the round today. We were able to beat a couple teams ahead of us going into today’s round and the guys played with good focus. There’s a handful of holes on this golf course that are very challenging and I thought the guys managed those very well and played smart.”
“It was a quality start for the team with the Top 5 finish. We needed a solid start to our season to create momentum, and this tournament is certainly something we can build on.”
“Caleb had a terrific opening tournament for us and I was very happy to see him gain a lot of confidence on an excellent golf course. He didn’t have the birdie production that he desired today, but he still had a lot of good tee and approach shots and opportunities on the greens.”
The team will jump right back to tournament action on Friday to open up the Air Force Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Course in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 18-team, 54-hole event will continue on Saturday. A link to live scoring via GolfStat will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.