Led by the play of sophomore Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine), the Valparaiso University men’s golf team owns the top spot on the team leaderboard through 36 holes at the season-opening Lewis Flyer Intercollegiate. VanArragon also possesses the individual lead through Monday’s action at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.
How It Happened
- VanArragon stroked a 68 in Round 2, making a six-stroke improvement on his first-round score. The defending Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year picked up right where he left off when the spring season was halted, as his 36-hole score of 142 (-2) leads the 70-player field with 18 holes remaining.
- Valpo owns the top two spots on the individual leaderboard with junior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) holding second place at 143 (72-71), one stroke under par.
- The team bettered its Round 1 score of 298 to 285 in Round 2, finishing the day at 583 (+7) and taking over first place during the afternoon round.
- Golfing as an individual, senior Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) enters Round 3 in fourth place, the third Valpo golfer in the top four. He carded a 73 in both rounds to finish the day at 146 (+2).
- Valpo currently accounts for six of the top 10, with a Brown & Gold trio tied for ninth. Seniors Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) and Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) both finished the day at 149 (+5) to contribute to the team scoring. Alexander made a five-stroke improvement by carding a 72 in Round 2, while Juskow went 75-74.
- The third Valpo golfer involved in the tie for ninth on the individual leaderboard is freshman Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood), who is competing individually. He enjoyed a favorable collegiate debut by posting a 74 (+2) in the morning round and followed with a 75 in Round 2.
Inside the Rounds
- The 68 (-4) marked a career best for VanArragon, both overall and in relation to par. His best 18-hole score as a rookie was three strokes under at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invite last September.
- VanArragon’s performance cracked the modern program record book for 18-hole score in relation to par as his -4 sits at t-9. Monday marked the 18th time since the program’s 2009 relaunch that an individual carded four strokes under or better in a round, and VanArragon became the 10th different Valpo player to do so. He’s the second active player with a round of four under or better, joining Juskow.
- Valpo’s team score of 285 in Round 2 is tied for the eighth-best in the program’s modern history. It marked the team’s fifth round of 285 or better since the start of last season after the program had totaled nine such rounds over the previous 10 seasons, quantifying the team’s surge over the last 12 months.
- In relation to par, the second-round team performance of three under also ranks tied for eighth in modern program history.
- Bonn and fellow freshman Alex Heck (Greenwood, Ind. / Center Grove) both made their collegiate debuts on Monday.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“We have been looking forward to getting back on the course and in competition for over six months! It was a terrific feeling to be playing on one of the best golf courses in Chicagoland with the team and competing against other teams. The guys were both anxious and excited to start to our season and get the competitive juices flowing.”
“I felt the team had prepared very well over the past five weeks for our first competition, and it certainly showed today. We had a very solid practice round yesterday and the guys came away with a lot of confidence in how to manage and attack the golf course. I thought our ball-striking was really good, especially our accuracy off the tee. Our reads on the greens were tremendous and the guys controlled the speed of their putts well. It's always a long day with 36 holes of continuous golf. The guys were very patient throughout the rounds, staying focused and having a lot of fun.”
“Caleb and Garrett played exceptionally for us today. They’re the only two players in the field under par after 36 holes. Both of them were very consistent with their ball-striking and namely their irons into the greens. They might have had two 3-putts between them and they putted extremely well. The rest of the team played very well for us and I was thrilled to see everyone participating in this effort and the quality of the scoring on a challenging golf course.”
“We have a terrific opportunity to finish out this tournament tomorrow with another great team effort. The guys are excited to play our final round in the Chicago suburbs tomorrow.”
The Lewis Flyer Intercollegiate will continue with 18 more holes of action on Tuesday from Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.