The Valparaiso University men’s golf team turned in a glowing performance on the first day of Penn State’s Rutherford Intercollegiate, hosted at the par-71, 7171-yard Penn State Blue Course on Saturday. Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) had one of the best single-round scores in program history and owns the top spot in the race for medalist honors with 18 holes to go. His teammate Anthony Delisanti (Sanborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) is second in the 75-player field. Valpo’s team score in Round 2 threatened a program record as part of a tremendous day on the links, which ended with Valpo owning the top spot in the 12-team event.
How It Happened
- After a 71 (E) in Round 1, VanArragon carded a 65 (-6) in a stellar second round to finish the day at 136 (-6). He holds a narrow one-stroke lead over his teammate for the top spot on the player leaderboard.
- Delisanti also had a great day, starting with a 67 (-4) in Round 1. He followed that up with a 70 in Round 2 to complete the day at 137 (-5).
- Yianni Kostouros (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point [Ball State]) and Sam Booth (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) also made key improvements from Round 1 to Round 2. Kostouros trimmed six strokes off his Round-1 score with a 69 (-2) in Round 2, while Booth bettered his opening-round score by eight strokes by finishing the day with a 70 (+1). Kostouros sits at t-21 with a 36-hole score of 144.
- As a team, Valpo climbed three spots in the second round, building up a five-stroke lead on the second-place tie between Georgetown and host Penn State. After a 288 in Round 1, the Beacons needed just 274 strokes in Round 2 (-10) to finish the day at 562 (-6).
Inside the Rounds
- VanArragon’s 65 in Round 2 was the best 18-hole score of his illustrious, four-year career with the Brown & Gold. His previous personal best was 66.
- VanArragon’s 18-hole round tied for the second best in program history, behind only Delisanti’s 64 at this fall’s Zach Johnson Invitational. VanArragon joins Jared Magoline, Nick Seitz, Peter Webb and Drew Alexander as other Valpo golfers who have carded a 65.
- In relation to par, VanArragon’s score of six under is tied for fourth in program history with four others. He matched his personal best for 18-hole score in relation to par that was set on Sept. 4, 2022 at the Island Resort Intercollegiate.
- Valpo’s second-round team score of 274 was the second best in program history and best in nearly a decade. The only better team showing in program history was 273 at the Golfweek Program Challenge on Sept. 7, 2014.
- In relation to par, Valpo’s -10 in the second Round tied for the second best in program history. Saturday’s score tied with the third round of the Valpo Fall Invitational on Sept. 20 of this season and is behind only -15 in the first round of the Golfweek Program Challenge on Sept. 7, 2014.
- Valpo was second in the tournament field in par-3 scoring at 3.18 and third in par-4 scoring at 4.05.
- Delisanti led the field in par-3 scoring at 2.75, while VanArragon’s par-4 average of 3.82 led the event in that category.
- Delisanti drained nine birdies, the second most in the field. Valpo had 26 on the day as a team.
- A pair of Beacons recorded eagles as Booth and Kostouros both turned the trick on the par-5 ninth hole in Round 2.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“These 36-hole days are long and there’s a lot of golf being played by each one of our guys. We had our challenges in the morning round, playing almost all of it in a steady rain. We have been fortunate this season with not playing in much rain at all, so our guys had to adjust to those conditions, playing in rain gear and keeping everything as dry as possible. Anthony played exceptionally steady for us, with six birdies and only two bogeys for one of his best rounds of the year. Caleb had a remarkably consistent round, with 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey. We only had eleven birdies as a team, but the guys were grinding through the weather and we kept the first-round team leaders in view.”
“In the second round, we increased our birdie production to 15 birdies and we added two Par-5 eagles. We shot five under on the front nine and picked up some shots on the field from our first-round deficit. We were able to get a lot of quality pars and some key birdies on the back nine to keep adding to our lead. We shot another -5 on the back nine to finish the long day very strong. Sam had two birdies and no bogeys, while Caleb had three birdies and no bogeys on the back nine. Both Anthony and Yianni shot even on the back nine.”
“We needed a strong second round today, and the guys really played hard to finish strong. This was the best second round that we have had all year, and it’s a tribute to the guys with their preparation and conditioning. We’re going to turn around and play another 18 tomorrow, so the guys are excited to get back out on the course and enjoy competing against a number of really good teams here at Penn State.”
Valpo will golf the final 18 holes of the event on Sunday. A link to live scoring is available on ValpoAthletics.com.