The Valparaiso University men’s golf team is set to open the 2012 spring season looking to build upon a solid fall campaign, looking to ready itself for this year’s Horizon League Championships.
The Crusaders finished in the top half of three events during the fall and had two individuals post a top-five finishes, giving the Brown and Gold a solid foundation heading into the spring.
Sophomore Kyle Henning led the way for Valpo during the fall averaging 73.5 over 11 rounds. He carded a team-low 68 at the Butler Fall Invitational for first year head coach Dave Gring, and finished third in the season-opening Fossum Invitational hosted by Michigan State. Henning shaved three strokes off of his freshman year’s average this past fall.
Austin Gaugert, a junior, also saw a dramatic improvement in his scoring average from his first two seasons with the Brown and Gold. He posted a 73.9 mark over three tournaments and remains the school’s single round record holder after firing a 67 as a freshman.
Brad Winters and Thomas Wettstein averaged 75.0 and 75.1 respectively while playing in all four fall events. Winters has shown steady improvement in his game over each of his first three seasons at Valpo and posted a top-10 finish at the Butler Fall Invitational last year. Wettstein, who finished tied for third at Butler at one-over par 211, has taken 1.7 strokes off of his average from his rookie season.
Andy Webb also played in every event for the Brown and Gold during the fall campaign, averaging 76.7. A junior, he has taken nearly three-and-a-half shots off of his game from his rookie season two years ago.
Josh Kalita hopes to return to the lineup this spring after an injury forced him to miss nearly all of the fall slate. A junior, he played in just one event before being sidelined.
Freshmen Joe Harris and Eric Winters both got their first taste of collegiate golf this past fall and will look to make more of an impact moving into the spring season. Harris played in three tournaments for the Crusaders, firing a low round of 71, while Winters made his debut at the Fossum Invitational.
Junior Andrew Beischel is the final member of this year’s spring roster for the Crusaders. He did not play during the fall season.
Valpo will open the spring campaign on Monday and Tuesday, March 26-27 at the Butler Spring Invitational in Avon, Ind. The Crusaders will follow that tournament up with a trip to Western Illinois for the Bea Mussato Invitational. After a weekend off for Easter, Valpo heads to North Carolina State for the Wolfpack Spring Open before wrapping up the regular season at Ball State for the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational.
This year’s Horizon League Championships are slated for April 27-29, returning to Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. for the second straight year.
With so many of the Crusaders dropping their stroke averages significantly during the fall, the improvement among the team has Valparaiso’s sights set on moving up the Horizon League standings this season.