The lone home tournament of the season for the Valparaiso University men’s golf team got underway on Monday at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. All 10 Valpo golfers participated in the event, as Valpo featured an A and B team as part of a 13-team field. The top Valpo team sits in a tie for sixth place entering the final round.
How It Happened
- Senior Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) led the way with a 36-hole score of 142. He sits in a tie for third with one other player and is just one stroke back of Loyola’s Devin Johnson and Bradley’s Dan Lensing, who are tied for the top spot in a 74-player field. Wittmann carded a 70 (-2) in Round 1 before posting a 72 (E) in Round 2.
- Freshmen Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) and Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) were also key performers for the hosts, as both rookies stand at 151 in their first home event, part of a tie for 24th. Willis (73) and Toman (74) both had their strongest scores in the opening round.
- Sophomores Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) and Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) rounded out the top team for Valpo at 158 and 160 respectively.
- The top three players on the B team all had rounds of 77 or better. Matthew McCarthy had a 75 in Round 1 to lead the B squad, while Ross Lazar (Okemos, Mich. / Okemos) paced the group in Round 2 with a 75. Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) sits at 157 through two rounds after posting scores of 80 and 77.
- Freshman Lance Picton (Oro Valley, Ariz. / Caynon del Oro) made his collegiate debut, golfing an 82 in Round 1 followed by an 85 in Round 2.
Inside the Round
- As a team, Valpo is tied with Green Bay for sixth at 600 through two rounds. The hosts carded a 295 in Round 1 followed by a 305 in Round 2. MVC foe Bradley leads the team scoring at 577, four strokes ahead of Wright State. Loyola is third at 590. Valpo is just one stroke behind a fourth-place tie between Fort Wayne and Creighton.
- Valpo holds a 13-stroke lead on its nearest pursuer and is ahead of five teams, including conference foe UNI.
- Valpo has 106 pars through two rounds, tied for second in the event and just one behind Green Bay. The team totaled 19 birdies, while the Valpo B team added 17.
- Willis eagled the Par 5 first hole in Round 1 before Wittmann turned in an eagle on the same hole in Round 2. Valpo was one of two teams in the field with multiple eagles on Monday.
- Wittmann has thrived on Par 3 holes, where he owns a tournament-best 2.75 average.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“It was good to be playing our home course with terrific weather. The conditions could not have been any better and the guys played hard all day. With all 10 of our players on the course today, it was a special time to enjoy the entire team competing in one event. We had a great turnout of parents and friends attending our home tournament.”
“Our birdie production was better in the first round than in the second round. We missed a good amount of opportunities to make some birdie putts, especially during the second round – we simply couldn't get the putts to drop. The guys are doing well with their reads on the green, but we were not able to convert those to birdies.”
“Our Par-5 performance was poor and we have to do a better job taking advantage of the scoring opportunities on those holes. The Par 5s are some of the easiest holes on the course and we lost a lot of strokes to the leaders, finishing +2 for the first two rounds. Our short irons need to improve overall and with better proximity to the hole so that we can make more putts throughout the round.”
The Crusader Collegiate continues with the final round on Tuesday at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Ind. Live scoring is available via BirdieFire. Tee times off Holes 1 & 10 will begin the day starting at 7:30 a.m.