Led by sophomore Nick Seitz (Xenia, Ohio/Carroll), who sits in third place individually after 36 holes, the Valparaiso University men’s golf team maintained its hold on fourth place at the Horizon League Championship Saturday and is in a position to move up the team leaderboard during the final round on Sunday.
The Crusaders sliced two strokes off their team total on Saturday, posting a second-round score of 304. Valpo’s 36-hole total of 610 through the first two rounds is good for fourth place in the team standings, just four shots shy of third-place Wright State. Cleveland State currently owns the team lead at 596, still within striking distance if the Crusaders can go low on Sunday, while Oakland is in second position with 18 holes to go at 599.
“We had our opportunities today and the team had a good run of holes on the back nine,” said Crusader head coach David Gring. “Unfortunately, we had a few big numbers on the last few holes and that set us back from the good work taking place during the middle of the round.”
Leading the way again on Saturday was the consistent play of Seitz. The sophomore has been easily the tournament’s steadiest player through 36 holes, registering 27 pars over the first two rounds, three more than any other player in the field. On Saturday, Seitz tallied 13 pars, three bogeys and two birdies for a one-over 73, giving him a 36-hole total of 147. Seitz enters the final round just three shots back of the lead and just one stroke off of second place.
Fellow sophomore and All-League honoree Peter Webb (Madison, Wis./James Madison Memorial) had more of an up-and-down round over the middle 18 holes on Saturday than did Seitz, but in the end, positioned himself to make a run at All-Tournament accolades. After opening with four bogeys over the first eight holes, Webb birdied four of the next six to get back to even par. A double-bogey was the only blemish on his card the rest of the way as the sophomore shot a 74 on Saturday to post a 151 through 36 holes, good for a tie for ninth place and just two strokes out of fifth.
“Nick hit 13 greens in regulation today and Pete had a run of four-under through six holes in the middle of his round,” said Gring. “Their ball-striking has been terrific and they continue to lead our team well.”
Senior Eric Winters (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) improved by one shot over his Friday performance on Saturday, shooting a 77 in the middle round to finish the day tied for 18th with a 36-hole total of 155. Fellow senior Joe Harris (Washington, Iowa/Washington) and redshirt junior Jared Magoline (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac [Marquette]) posted matching 80s on Saturday and finished the day in a tie for 21st and in 27th place, respectively.
Valpo closes out the 2015 Horizon League Championship on Sunday with the final 18 holes of competition. Live scoring will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
“The guys continue to play encouraged and they are going to give it their best tomorrow,” said Gring. “We need to have a balanced team effort with all five scores, avoid the big numbers on holes and putt well. If we can convert some birdie putts at critical times and avoid the three-putts, we can make some moves tomorrow."