Valpo’s All-Time Best Golfer Closes Collegiate Career at NCAA Regional
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Valpo’s All-Time Best Golfer Closes Collegiate Career at NCAA Regional

The greatest Valparaiso University men’s golfer of all-time walked off the collegiate course for the final time on Wednesday.

Fifth-year senior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) golfed the third and final round of the NCAA West Lafayette Regional, hosted this week at Purdue’s par-72, 7461-yard Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Ind. VanArragon finished the Regional with a 54-hole score of 217 (+1) after posting a 72 (E) in Wednesday’s final round.

"The Kampen-Cosler Course was a tremendous test for Caleb and the entire field the past three rounds," head coach Dave Gring said. "Coupled with rain today and some wind the first two days, the golf course constantly commands good golf shots and gives very little margin of error. I thought Caleb managed the golf course extremely well all three rounds and made very good decisions with club selections, factoring in slope, wind, distance and more. Caleb fell only five shots short of a playoff for the individual spot and really played hard for the entire 54 holes."

The Minnesota native climbed five spots on the player leaderboard on Wednesday to finish tied for 23rd in a 75-player field. He offset three bogeys including the first and last holes with three birdies on par 5s – the fourth, sixth and 16th holes.

"Today’s round was really masterful, when you consider the fact that Caleb only hit eight of 14 fairways and eight of 18 greens in regulation," Gring said. "His chipping was superb and his putting was excellent, despite barely missing birdies on Holes 7, 8, 10, 12 and 13. He gave himself a number of quality birdie opportunities, including birdies on three of the four Par 5s. Today’s round could have been really special, but Caleb simply couldn’t get real momentum and those mid-round birdies to drop, after making terrific reads and putting strokes."

VanArragon will go down as the best golfer in program history and among Valpo’s all-time greats across all sports. The two-time NCAA Regional at-large qualifier, 2022-23 College Sports Communicators First Team Academic All-American and 2023-24 MVC Golfer of the Year will undoubtedly earn more honors for his stellar season in the days and weeks to come. He finished with a program-record career scoring average of 71.24 over 147 rounds and established a program standard for single-season scoring average at 69.62 in 34 rounds this season.

As great as he was on the golf course, VanArragon was perhaps even better in the classroom, where he posted a 4.00 cumulative grade point average during undergrad with a double major in biology and statistics before earning a 4.00 GPA in the analytics and modeling master’s program. His full list of collegiate accolades is too long to list but includes 37 career top-10 finishes, 26 top-5 finishes, 18 top-2 finishes and six tournament titles. A professional career is the next step in VanArragon’s golf journey, but his impact during a successful run for Valpo’s program will not be forgotten. It’s merely a matter of time before VanArragon becomes forever etched in Valpo Athletics lore as a member of the department’s Hall of Fame.

"It was a special day for me and our team, watching Caleb play his final round as a Beacon!" Gring said. "Four of our players drove from Indy and Fort Wayne to watch Caleb compete. His body of work in the classroom and on the golf course speaks for itself and it’s been a blessing for all of us to watch it and be a part of it! He’s made each one of us better as players and coaches! We will miss him dearly, but he’s excited to turn pro next week and commence the new chapter in his book. We wish Caleb the best and we will look forward to watching the development of his professional career!"

Valpo’s team – minus VanArragon, who is not eligible due to having competed in NCAA postseason competition – will tee off the National Golf Invitational on Friday at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes GC in Maricopa, Ariz. A link to live scoring via GolfStat is available on