The Valparaiso University men’s golf team finished as the runner-up of its home tournament this week at the par-72, 7042-yard Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Ind. The Beacons put together one of the best tournament performances in the program’s modern history and were led by Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine), who finished as the individual runner-up in the 75-player field. Valpo’s glowing scores came despite battling rainy conditions throughout the tournament.
How It Happened
- VanArragon tied for the team’s best Round-3 score with a 69 (-3) to finish the tournament with a 54-hole score of 212 (-4). He finished one stroke behind Wright State’s Mikkel Mathiesen for medalist honors.
- Senior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) enjoyed a strong day on Tuesday, posting a 69 (-3) to share the team lead with VanArragon in Round 3. His strong round featured five birdies as he enjoyed his best round of the tournament by six strokes.
- Freshman Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood) rounded out a good week on the links with a 73 (+1) in Round 3. He finished at 213 (-3) to take third in the event as the Beacons owned two of the top three spots.
- Wright State edged the hosts by a single stroke for the team title as the Raiders finished the event with an 854 (-10, 283-285-286). Valpo had the best Round 3 team score of any participating squad at 283 (-5) to finish the event at 855 (-9, 288-284-283).
- Yianni Kostouros (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point [Ball State]) remained a picture of consistency, carding his third straight even par round on Tuesday. He finished the tournament at 216 (E), seventh on the player leaderboard.
- Golfing as an individual, Sam Booth (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) showed off the depth of Valpo’s roster by enjoying a top-10 finish. He rounded out his prosperous tournament with a 72 (E) on Tuesday to finish the week at 217 (+1), tied for eighth in the field.
- Freshman Anthony Delisanti (Saborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) was the fifth Valpo player in the top 10, tying for 10th at 219 (+3). He closed out his week with a 74 (+1) on Tuesday.
Inside the Round
- VanArragon finished a tournament four strokes under par for the fourth time in his collegiate career. He tied his own marks for seventh in the program record book.
- VanArragon’s 69 on Tuesday represented his season-low round and was one stroke away from a personal best.
- Willis’ 69 on Tuesday tied his career low and represented his best 18-hole score so far this season.
- Bonn joined the following players who have finished tournaments at three under or better since the program’s 2009 relaunch: VanArragon (5x), Peter Webb (3x), Nick Seitz, Charlie Toman, Garrett Willis, Austin Gaugert and Jared Magoline.
- The team’s 54-hole score of 854 was the second best in program history behind 842 at the Golfweek Program Challenge in September 2014. By finishing 10 strokes under par, Valpo achieved its second-best 54-hole score in relation to par as well, behind only the minus-22 at the aforementioned Golfweek event. Valpo outdid its previous second-best tournament showing of all time, which was at the team’s home tournament in 2019 (858, -6).
- The 18-hole team score of 283 in Round 3 tied for the fourth-best 18-hole round in program history. By finishing five strokes under par, Valpo also tied for the fourth-best 18-hole round in relation to par in the program record book.
- Valpo finished with the best par-3 scoring in the tournament at 3.05 (+3) while also owning the best par-5 scoring 4.53. The Beacons were behind only Wright State on par-4 holes with a 4.17 average.
- Five different Valpo players all shot eagles in the tournament. After four Beacon eagles on Monday, VanArragon achieved the fifth on the par-5 first hole on Tuesday.
- The Beacons produced 55 birdies over the three rounds, the second-most in the event. Kostouros had a team-high 13, while Willis, VanArragon and Bonn turned in 11 apiece.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“Our guys love to compete and all seven of them really put in a terrific effort in the final round. They were relentless in their pursuit of winning the tournament and played hard right down to the final hole. Wright State has played very well in all of their tournaments this fall, and it was thrilling to have the adrenaline juices flowing and trying to overcome their 36-hole lead.”
“While there’s a level of disappointment in falling one shot short of first place, there were many positives to take from the tournament. Our best round of the three was our final round, and I was very pleased with the five under performance, especially with the intermittent rain all day. Five of our seven players moved up in the individual standings today, and five of them finished in the Top 10 of the 75-player field. We led the field in Par-3 scoring and Mason Bonn was tied for the top individual in Par-3 scoring at two under. Also, we led the field in Par-5 scoring and Yianni Kostouros was tied for the top individual in Par 5 scoring at eight under. Our team was second in birdie and first in eagle production, with five different players making an eagle in the tournament. Our scoring improved with each round.”
“The tournament gave us another tremendous boost of confidence and we feel we can be competitive in every event that we play. Mason had his best tournament as a Beacon and Caleb earned his third medalist runner-up finish this calendar year. Our starting five had nine rounds of par or better, and that is an awesome performance on a challenging golf course in rainy weather. We have some more work to do before our next tournament at Drake. We will enjoy this finish and look forward to the next time we can compete.”
The team’s next tournament will begin on Monday, Sept. 27 in West Des Moines, Iowa as Valpo partakes in the Zach Johnson Invitational, which is hosted by Drake at Glen Oaks CC.