The Valparaiso University men’s golf team is off to a promising start through two rounds of the Derek Dolenc Invitational, standing in eighth of 17 teams with an 18-hole score of 584. Only one Missouri Valley Conference team is ahead of Valpo in the standings (Bradley, third), while Valpo leads four conference foes – Missouri State, Drake, UNI and Loyola.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s talented freshman class was on display once again on Monday, as a pair of rookies are tied for the team lead going into the final 18 holes. Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) and Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) both sit in a tie for 18th at 144.
- Willis turned in a 74 in the first round before carding a team-low 70 (-1) in Round 2. Toman did his better work in Round 1, when he led the team with a 71 (E), before stroking a 73 in Round 2.
- On a day where Valpo’s top four performers were all freshmen or sophomores, second-year collegiate golfer Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) was third on the team at 150 (73-77). He enters the final day at t-52.
- Sophomore Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) followed his classmate with a 153 through two rounds (79-74), a total that places him in a tie for 68th.
- Senior Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) was just one over in the first round. He finished at 155 for the day.
- Matthew McCarthy (O’Fallon, Ill. / Althoff Catholic) golfed as an individual and made a drastic improvement from Round 1 to Round 2, cutting 10 strokes off his score and turning in a +1 in the second round to finish the day at 154 (T-74).
Inside the Rounds
- Valpo is dead even with Creighton for eighth and holds a four-stroke lead on 10th-place Missouri State. IWCC is five strokes ahead of Valpo, while DePaul sits in sixth, just six strokes up on Valpo.
- SIU Edwardsville leads the tournament at two strokes under par, while Cougars golfer Kyle Slattery is the individual leader at six under.
- Willis had the lowest round of his young career with his 70, while McCarthy’s 72 was his best score since his career-low 71, which came as a freshman.
- Valpo had 24 birdies, led by Willis and Seward with seven apiece.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“We did a nice job of avoiding the big numbers on holes in the first round. Our front nine in Round 1 was solid with a lot of pars and good looks at birdies. We did a nice job of finishing the first round also. In Round 2, we had too many double bogeys, even though our birdie production was a lot better. Our front nine was terrific in the second round with nine birdies by the team.”
“Garrett and Charlie played well for us today and led the way for the team in our scoring. Charlie finished the first round with 16 consecutive pars and Garrett led the team with seven birdies today. Mitch had 14 pars in the first round and Matt had five birdies in the second round. The guys were playing hard all day and everyone was contributing throughout the team.”
“I thought the short iron shots improved today compared to our last tourney. We need to convert more birdie opportunities tomorrow. We have had some strong final rounds this year thus far and we need to close this tournament with a solid round.”
Valpo will be back on the course on Tuesday for the third and final round of the Derek Dolenc Invitational in Madison, Ill.