Men’s Golf Leads 24-Team Tournament After One Round
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Men’s Golf Leads 24-Team Tournament After One Round
Caleb VanArragon led Valpo on the first day of the fall season.

A Valparaiso University men’s golf team that has high hopes for the 2023-24 season after back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference runner-up finishes the last two seasons got the new year off to a promising start on Sunday. The Beacons hold the top spot on the team leaderboard with fifth-year Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) second on the player leaderboard after one round of the three-day Gene Miranda Falcon Invite, hosted by Air Force at the par-72, 7541-yard Eisenhower Golf Course in USAFA, Colo.

How It Happened

  • VanArragon had a big first day of the fall season, going five strokes under par by carding a 67. He is second in a large field of 120 players, chasing only Colorado State’s Christoph Bleier, who has a two-stroke lead for medalist honors with 36 holes remaining.
  • VanArragon was joined in the top five by junior Anthony Delisanti (Sanborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield), who also went under par with a 70 in the season’s opening round. He sits tied for fifth through the first day of competition.
  • The Beacons got countable scores out of the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the lineup as the Carmel connection of Sam Booth (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) and Owen Sander (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) each turned in 74s (+1).
  • Freshman Adam Melliere (Zionsville, Ind. / Zionsville) earned a spot in the starting lineup and golfed his first collegiate round on Sunday.
  • Valpo leads the 24-team event thanks to a Round-1 team score of 285 (-3). The Beacons are three strokes ahead of second-place New Mexico State.

Inside the Round

  • Valpo had the best Day-1 showing on Par 5 holes, using an average of 4.65 strokes (-7) on Par 5s.
  • Valpo accrued 59 pars, the second-most in the event, while drilling 13 birdies.
  • VanArragon led the team with six birdies over the first 18 holes of the tournament, tied for the second most in the field.
  • Sander eagled the par-5 fifth hole, one of eight eagles on the day in the tournament field.

Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring

“There’s always a good level of excitement, anticipation and even nervousness as we start a new season. I felt the team was well prepared to get the season rolling, build off the past two weeks of team practices and get out on the golf course and start competing. We had some butterflies on the first tee and getting the round started, but that’s healthy and I would expect nothing less from these guys.”

“I’m really proud of the guys working through some adversity during the first round. The tournament field is one of the largest that we will play in all year, so the pace of play was slow and we were prepared for that. It’s challenging to stay focused on the golf course for over six hours, and the guys worked through that really well. We had some wind to start the round, we had some rain about two-thirds through the round, along with the slow pace of play. I felt some of the excitement of the first round of the year simply overcame those factors that we couldn’t control."

"Overall, our course management was good, our shot execution was fairly average and we made some important putts when we needed it. The green complexes are very well designed and we kept the ball below the hole and we didn’t have too many short-side chip shots around the green.  Caleb led the team well today. There wasn't really anything ‘flashy’ about his round - just solid course management and he made some putts. Anthony, Sam and Owen didn't have their best stuff, but they played very solid and gave us some good scores for the first round of the tournament.”

Up Next

The tournament will continue on Monday with Round 2 of the three-day event taking place.