The Valparaiso University men’s golf team traveled in state for this weekend’s two-day outing, heading down to Muncie for the Earl Yestingsmeier Memorial Invitational, hosted by Ball State. Through 36 holes, the Crusaders find themselves in the top third of the field, sitting in fourth position entering Saturday’s final round.
Valpo shot a round of 366 as a team over the opening 18 holes to finish the first round tied for third place. The Crusaders followed with a 369 in the afternoon, and their 36-hole score of 765 is just three shots back of third and nine strokes out of second position. Host Ball State leads the team standings at 719.
“We had a strong finish with the back nine of our second round and it is always good to see the team finishing the 36-hole days well,” said Crusader head coach David Gring. “10 of our fifteen birdies in the second round came during that stretch and that helped us work our way back on the leaderboard. The team led the field today in par-3 scoring, and that is something that we concentrate on with every tournament, while four of our six players did not have a single three-putt over the 36 holes – another important category for us. I thought there was a lot of good decision making out there today and for the most part, we kept our ball in a good position on the sloping greens.”
Leading the Crusaders’ pack are the one-two punch of senior Jared Magoline (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac [Marquette]) and junior Peter Webb (Madison, Wis./James Madison Memorial.). Magoline shot the best individual round of the morning, carding a three-under 67, and followed with a 75 in the afternoon. The senior finished the day at 142 (+2), good for a tie for fourth place, just two shots back from the overall leader.
“Jared's 67 led the field in the morning and was very steady, with four birdies and only one bogey,” said Gring. “His putting has been terrific over the last couple of tournaments and his ball-striking has put him in good positions off of the tee and on the greens.”
Webb sits only two strokes off of Magoline’s hot start to the weekend, posting scores of 74 and 70 to close the day at 144 (+4) and tied for sixth place. Freshman Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis./Kaukauna) and sophomore Zach Cutler (O’Fallon, Mo./Timberland) are both tied for fourteenth place after two rounds, both shooting identical scores of 74 in the first round and 72 in the second round to bring their totals to 146.
“Pete came back in the second round with a good run of four birdies in five holes, and that was during his final nine holes of the day,” said Gring. “Mitch and Zach both had six birdies on the day, and their course management and putting were excellent for us all day.”
Rounding out the Crusaders’ top five is senior Matt Ward (Plainfield, Ill./South), who finished at 160 with rounds of 77 and 83. Sophomore Michael Doherty (Lisle, Ill./Naperville North) closed out the Valpo team – as the tournament features six-player teams, counting four per round to the team score - just one shot behind Ward at 161, with scores of 81 and 80.
Valparaiso will look to move up the standings during the final round tomorrow from Muncie. Live scoring can be found at ValpoAthletics.com.