The Valparaiso University men’s golf team had its best round of the weekend on Sunday at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invite hosted by Air Force at Eisenhower Golf Course in Colorado Springs, Colo. Valpo bettered its Saturday round by eight strokes while advancing from tied for 14th to sole possession of 12th on the final day of the tournament. In addition, freshman Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) inserted his name into the program record book by virtue of his performance over the 54 holes this weekend.
How It Happened
- VanArragon turned in a 69 (-3) to lead the team on Sunday. He was one of six competitors in the 104-player field to card a 69 or better in Round 3. VanArragon’s Sunday showing allowed him to finish the event at 212 (-4), tied for sixth overall.
- Sophomore Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) also reached par on Sunday by posting a 72. He finished the event at 221 (t-46th).
- Junior Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) was third on the team on Sunday with a 74 (+2) and also finished third on the squad in the tournament. His 54-hole score of 225 put him tied for 59th.
- As a team, Valpo had its best round of the weekend with a 291 to finish the event at 886 (+22). After entering the day tied for 14th, the team earned sole possession of 12th by snapping a tie with Missouri Valley Conference foe Drake while leaping ahead of New Mexico State and Southern Utah. Valpo erased a 10-stroke deficit on Southern Utah and finished five strokes ahead of the Thunderbirds in the final standings.
- Colorado was the team champion with an 854 (-10), while Southern Utah’s Jake Vincent beat Northern Colorado’s Jack Castiglia in a playoff for medalist honors.
Inside the Round
- VanArragon cracked the program record book in total 54-hole score with a 212, which tied with two others for the ninth-best in program history. He also placed his name on Valpo’s all-time chart in 54-hole tournament low in relation to par at four strokes under, taking over sole possession of fifth.
- VanArragon’s 54-hole tournament was Valpo’s best in relation to par since April 1-2 2017, when Peter Webb won medalist honors at the Hoosier Invitational by going five strokes under with a 206. VanArragon’s weekend was the second-best 54-hole score in relation to par by a Valpo freshman in program history and the best since Webb went five under with a 211 at the Golfweek Program Challenge in the fall of 2013.
- VanArragon became just the third different player in program history to post a 54-hole tournament score of four strokes under par or better, joining Nick Seitz and Peter Webb (three times).
- Valpo’s team score of +22 was two strokes away from entering the program’s all-time Top 10 for 54-hole team score in relation to par.
- Joshua Wu of Air Force finished fifth in the event, one stroke ahead of VanArragon. Joshua is the twin brother of Valpo senior Jeremy Wu (Medford, Ore. / St. Mary’s), who golfed as an individual in the event.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“In our team meeting last night, we talked about finishing the tournament strong, beating the teams in our foursome and trying to leapfrog a couple other teams. We also talked about getting off to a good start in the round and putting with more determination and focus. The guys accomplished all of that today and we were very pleased with our finish to the tournament. I was especially pleased with our back nine scoring with seven birdies in the final eight holes.”
“The golf course was a terrific challenge, especially the design of the greens. We haven’t play golf at elevation in a few years and the guys adjusted very quickly and efficiently. The team played very smart today, hitting to good spots on the greens and making some excellent birdie putts.”
“It was a lot of fun down the stretch with the guys really hitting some good shots and making the critical birdie putts. Both Garrett and Caleb had a terrific back nine, with seven birdies between the two of them. The team played with a lot of confidence and this will give us some nice momentum heading into our tournament next week.”
The team’s next competition will be this season’s home tournament, the Crusader Collegiate at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. The two-day, 54-hole event begins on Monday, Sept. 16. Live scoring will be available via BirdieFire.