Willis Paces Valpo in Round 1 at Wright State
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Willis Paces Valpo in Round 1 at Wright State
Freshman Garrett Willis led Valpo in Sunday's round.

Freshman Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) continued his recent solid play, leading the Valparaiso University men’s golf team in the opening round of the Wright State Invitational on Sunday at Heatherwoode Golf Club in Springboro, Ohio. The participating teams were slated to play two rounds on Sunday, but the second round was canceled due to rain. The event has been shortened to a 36-hole format with the final round being played as scheduled on Monday.

How It Happened

  • Willis carded a 73 (+3) in the first round of the event. He enters Day 2 in a tie for 20th overall.
  • Valpo featured balanced scoring as Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) was one stroke off the team pace set by Willis. He ranks tied for 31st going into Monday.
  • Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) was next with a 75 (+5), while Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) and Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) each stroked a 76.
  • The tournament features an unusual six-count-five format. Valpo sits eighth among 12 teams going into the final round. The team holds a three-stroke lead on Northern Kentucky and is also leading Ohio, Cleveland State and Butler. Head coach Dave Gring’s squad is three strokes behind seventh-place Fort Wayne and five in back of a tie for fifth between Robert Morris and Indianapolis.

Inside the Round

  • Valpo owns a 4.92 average on Par 5 holes, tied for fourth among participating teams.
  • Valpo has eight birdies through one round with no Valpo player owning more than two.
  • The highlight of the opening round for Valpo came when Toman turned in an eagle, one of two on the day among all golfers. The Valpo freshman needed three strokes to complete a Par 5 11th hole.

Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring

“We had to battle through a wide variety of weather with today’s round, including two rain delays, 40 mile per hour winds and even some warm sunshine. Eight birdies are not enough and we simply couldn’t get the putts to drop.  More importantly, the ball striking needed to be sharper, getting us closer to the hole for the higher percentage putts.”

“Our start to the round was pretty solid, working our way through a decent stretch of holes on the back nine. It was after the rain delay that we struggled to take advantage of an easier stretch of holes on the front nine. While it’s challenging to keep momentum flowing during a six-hour round, it was still a good learning experience for our young team.”

“We have an opportunity to gain some good ground on the teams in front of us tomorrow, playing with all three teams. The guys are excited for the second round.”

Up Next

The 12 teams will round out the Wright State Invitational with Round 2 on Monday in Springboro, Ohio beginning at 8 a.m. CT / 9 a.m. ET. That will mark the final round prior to the MVC Championship. Live scoring is available via BirdieFire.