The Valparaiso men’s golf team hit the links today to kick off their final tournament of the 2014 fall campaign, playing 36 holes at the Rocket Individual Classic in Perrysburg, Ohio. Unlike all the other competitions that the Brown and Gold have played in this fall, the Rocket Classic is an individual competition, and coach David Gring has used the change in format to give some playing time to members of the team that have not seen a lot, if any action at all this school year.
Gring seems to like this format as it gives him a chance to see what he has in golfers that might not play in a team-based tournament. “We had a terrific day today to evaluate some additional talent on our team,” said Gring. “The individual tournament format allows the guys to play like any other tournament, but on an individual versus team basis. We had an excellent day to play a good golf course.”
Freshman Zach Cutler (O’Fallon, Mo./Timberland), the only participant in the tournament to see substantial playing time this fall, paced the Crusader competitors on day one as he shot a 78 and 75 (153) in the first and second rounds, respectively, to put him in a tie for fifth, and only nine shots in back of the leader going into the final 18 holes tomorrow. Matt Ward (Plainfield, Ill./South) was next in line as he finished the day tied for tenth place after shooting a 75 and 81 for a two-round total of 156.
Gring spoke of the effort that the freshman and junior put in today on the links. “Zach and Matt played very steady today, despite a few big holes that hurt their 36-hole scores,” said Gring. “They were very consistent from tee to green and put themselves in good locations on the challenging greens.”
Redshirt sophomore Adam Baracani (Normal, Ill./University) made his first appearance in his Crusader career, and performed nicely, tying himself with teammate Ryan Heck (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls) as they both carded a 36-hole round score of 159, putting both in 15th position.
Michael Holevas (Elgin, Ill./Saint Edward Central Catholic) shot a 165, Michael Kinsella (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North), also in his first-ever event as a Crusader, shot a 166, and Michael Doherty (Lisle, Ill./Naperville North) shot a 167 to round out the Brown and Gold’s performance.
Valpo will wrap up the fall season tomorrow morning at 10:00 with the final 18-holes from Belmont Country Club. The full recap can be found at valpoathletics.com.