When Valparaiso University men’s golfers return to campus following this weekend’s stay in Savannah, Ga., they will bring championship hardware with them. Valpo earned the team title in the 19-team event, finishing the 54 holes with a team score of 869 (+5), tying for the third-best mark in relation to par in program history.
How It Happened
- Freshman Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) went under par in all three rounds of the tournament, closing out his performance with a 71 (-1) in Round 3 on Sunday. He finished in third place out of 99 golfers, carding a 54-hole score of 212 (-4).
- The team’s top round of the day came courtesy of Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead), who went two under with his 70. He finished at 224 (t-45) for the tournament.
- Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) joined VanArragon as a Top 20 finisher, checking in at t-17. He carded a 72 (E) in the final round to finish at 220.
- Four of Valpo’s five golfers went par or better in Sunday’s final round, as Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) posted a 72 (E) to finish at 224 (t-45). Jack Juskow (Greenville, S.C. / Hamilton Southeastern) checked in at t-23 by finishing with a three-round score of 221.
- Valpo’s victory occurred in come-from-behind fashion as the team was tied for 10th through 18 holes before making a climb during Saturday’s afternoon round. The Brown & Gold entered Sunday tied with Delaware atop the team leaderboard, but it was Wright State that made a Sunday surge. Valpo edged the Raiders by two strokes for the team title.
Inside the Rounds
- Valpo’s team score of 285 (-3) in the third and final round allowed the squad to post a score that ranked among the program’s all-time best for the second consecutive day. The score ranked tied for seventh in program history in 18-hole round low and also tied for seventh in 18-hole round low in relation to par.
- The team’s 54-hole tournament score of 869 (+5) tied for the third in program history in relation to par and tied for fourth in overall score. Two of the top four 54-hole tournament scores in relation to par in program history have now come this season, as the team shot an 858 (-6) during the Crusader Collegiate this fall.
- VanArragon’s 54-hole score of 212 (-4) marked the fourth time this season a Valpo golfer finished -4 or better. Before this year, there were only four times in program history a Valpo golfer went -4 or better for a 54-hole tournament. His score this weekend is tied for seventh in program history in 54-hole score in relation to par and tied for 10th in 54-hole tournament low in terms of overall score.
- This marked Valpo’s first team championship in men’s golf since winning the Wright State Invitational in April 2015. By coming out on top in a 19-team field, Valpo won an event with a field of 10 teams or more for the first time in program history.
- Valpo’s birdie production was strong throughout the tournament, as the team racked up 51 birdies over the three rounds, eight more than Francis Marion, which was second with 43. There was also one Valpo eagle, which came courtesy of Seward.
- VanArragon had 15 birdies over the three rounds, leading all tournament participants.
- The Wright State team that Valpo edged out for the tournament title is the defending Horizon League champion and went to an NCAA Regional last season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“It had been four months since our last tournament, so we knew that we would have some rust to kick off to start the spring season. When the first round of the new year commences, expectations are always high and the guys feel they can play like they’re in midseason form. We talked about being patient throughout this entire tournament, working through poor shots and focusing on the next shot. We had some of those mental mistakes in the first round, but the guys bounced back extremely well in the second and third rounds.”
“Our birdie production in the second and third rounds was where we need it to be. We struggled to make quality putts in the first round, but the guys really got a good feel for the speed and their reads on the greens in the last two rounds. We made a lot of birdie putts from 10-20 feet, and when you can add those to the shots we knocked close to the pin, there’s going to be some good scoring.”
“This victory is really a tribute to our players’ quality work during this offseason. They worked very diligently in our Golf Room on short game, on the Trackman Simulator on mechanics and hitting assorted shots and even with cardio and weights during workouts. To kickoff our spring season with this type of win is important to us, picking up where we left off in the fall and setting a good tone for the spring.”
"With team efforts come team victories and everyone on the team participated. The guys that weren't traveling were sending encouraging texts all weekend and the guys that were playing all hit critical shots and made important putts when we absolutely needed it. To watch the quality shot execution throughout all three rounds and through some windy conditions on Saturday was thrilling.”
“Caleb was right around that medalist score all weekend. While he had a tremendous third-place finish, his 15 birdies led the field and he hit a lot of fairways and greens, all on a course that he had never seen before. He played very steady for us again this weekend and he had a lot of fun during the entire tournament.”
Valpo will be back in action on Monday, March 9 at the Orlando Invitational at Mission Inn in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.