Just six strokes separate the four participating teams through two rounds at the Crusader Collegiate, the season-opening tournament hosted by the Valparaiso University men’s golf team at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Ind. The Crusaders posted a 36-hole team score of 621 on Tuesday and are tied for second place going into Wednesday’s third and final round.
How It Happened
- Zach Cutler (O’Fallon, Mo. / Timberland) began his senior season with a 79 in Round 1, before turning in a 76 in the second round of competition. Cutler totaled a 155 (+11) over the two rounds, placing him in a tie for eighth.
- Also a part of the tie for eighth is Cutler’s classmate Michael Doherty (Lisle, Ill. / Naperville North). Valpo’s two seniors posted identical round scores, with Doherty also following a 79 with a 76.
- Freshman Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) led the team with a 76 in Round 1, the first round of his collegiate career. He followed with a 79 in the second round to join Cutler and Doherty at the t-8 spot with 18 holes remaining.
- Freshman Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) also put together a strong showing in his first Valpo event, posting a 77 in Round 1 and a 79 in Round 2 to finish the first day of competition tied for 13th, 12 strokes over par.
- Competing as an individual, sophomore Jeremy Wu (Medford, Ore. / St. Mary’s) went sub-80 both rounds, posting scores identical to Alexander’s.
- Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) joined Alexander and Seward in the starting lineup as the Crusaders penciled in a trio of rookies on the season’s first day. Juskow’s first round score of an 83 was followed by an 80 in Round 2.
- Matthew McCarthy (O’Fallon, Ill. / Althoff Catholic), Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Ill. / Kaukauna) and Ross Lazar (Okemos, Mich. / Okemos) all participated as individuals. McCarthy bounced back in the second round with an 80, trimming eight strokes off his first-round score.
Inside the Rounds
- Valpo had 20 birdies on the first day of competition, tied for the most of any team.
- Cutler racked up eight birdies, the most of any individual, while Lazar and McCarthy had five apiece.
- Juskow accumulated 22 pars to lead all participants, and finished with the second-best scoring average on Par 3s at 3.12.
- Wright State leads the invite with a team score of 617 (+41), followed closely by a second-place tie between Valpo and defending-champion Bradley at 621 (+45).
- Loyola had an unusual day, finishing far behind the rest of the field in the first round with a team score of 325 before finishing 11 strokes ahead of the second-best team in Round 2 with a 298. Going into the third round, the Ramblers are just two strokes behind the tie for second and six strokes in back of the Raiders.
- Wright State held a nine-stroke lead after one round, but saw that edge evaporate to four after finishing fourth in Round 2 at 314.
- Bradley’s Ethan Brune is the individual leader at +1, seven strokes ahead of his nearest competition.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
"The entire team was excited to get our season started. It's a big day to jump into 36 holes and there were some levels of anxiousness and restlessness while on the course. The guys have worked hard over the summer to prepare for our first tournament of the season and it was good to get the competitive season rolling. The golf course was in amazing shape and the greens were very challenging with both the pin locations and speed of the greens."
"Our birdie production was decent today, but we need to reduce the amount of double and triple bogeys. Those big holes make a large impact on our scores and we need to do a better job in minimizing those kind of mental and/or course management mistakes. This will be imperative tomorrow if we want to win our tournament."
"Our 36-hole scoring was quite consistent, when you consider five of our guys within a shot of each other. We have a tremendous opportunity to win the first tournament of our season. If we can play to our strengths, minimizing the big holes, we can look forward to some favorable results."
Round 3 of a tightly-contested Crusader Collegiate will take place on Wednesday at Sand Creek CC in Chesterton, Ind.