Men’s Golf Places Third in 18-Team Field, VanArragon Finishes as Tournament Runner-up
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Men’s Golf Places Third in 18-Team Field, VanArragon Finishes as Tournament Runner-up
Caleb VanArragon finished as the individual runner-up in a 108-player field.

A strong week for the Valparaiso University men’s golf team wrapped up on Tuesday as Valpo completed the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Mo. with a third-place finish in an 18-team field. Valpo led six Missouri Valley Conference programs in the tournament, thanks in part to the play of sophomore Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine), who was the individual runner-up in a 108-player field.

How It Happened

  • As a team, Valpo carded a 295 in Tuesday’s final round to finish the event at 869 (+17). The squad edged MVC foe Loyola (+18) for third, placing behind only tournament champion SIUE and runner-up Wichita State.
  • VanArragon was par or better in all three rounds, completing his tournament with a 71 (E) on Tuesday. The sophomore finished at 209 (-4) over 54 holes on the par-71, 6760-yard course. He outperformed 106 golfers and finished behind only SIUE medalist Zak Butt (-6, 207).
  • Senior Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) tied with VanArragon for Valpo’s lowest third-round score by stroking an even par. That helped him finish the tournament at 225 (t-64).
  • Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) and Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) both finished in the top 50 for head coach Dave Gring’s team. Willis checked in at t-36 with a 221 (+8) over the three rounds, while Seward tied for 41st with a 222 (+9).

Inside the Round

  • VanArragon’s 209 marks the lowest 54-hole overall score by any Valpo player since Peter Webb in April 2017. VanArragon’s score ties for fourth best in program history as he became just the third individual to card a 209 or better in a 54-hole tournament, joining Nick Seitz and Peter Webb (three times).
  • VanArragon’s tournament score in relation to par of four under ties for seventh in program history in 54-hole tournament low in relation to par. Since the program’s relaunch in 2009, there have been nine Valpo 54-hole tournaments of minus-4 or better, and VanArragon owns three of them as only a sophomore.
  • Valpo’s team score of 869 ranks tied for fourth in modern program history in 54-hole tournament overall low. In addition, the team score in relation to par of +17 ranks ninth in the program record book.  
  • Alexander’s 18-hole score of 71 on Tuesday marked his season best.
  • Valpo had the second-most pars in the tournament at 168 and ranked fourth in Par-4 scoring at 4.15 (+20).
  • VanArragon led the team and tied for sixth in the field with 12 birdies, while Willis tied for fourth among all participants with 36 pars.
  • Valpo topped Missouri Valley Conference foes Loyola (+18, fourth), Drake (+22, ninth), Missouri State (+23, 10th), UNI (+50, t-14th) and Bradley (+54, 17th).

Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring

“This was one of the grittier rounds that we have played in a long time. With the windy conditions today, we talked about getting off to a better start to the round, especially since we struggled with that in the first two rounds. The guys did exactly that and we had a terrific start, especially playing the challenging Holes 15-18 at one over par. It was the start that we needed and got us to the top of the leaderboard about six holes into the final round.”

“When we made the turn to the back nine, we just weren’t able to get anything going. We had a couple holes with big numbers and we didn’t take enough advantage of the birdie opportunities. It was definitely a test of mental strength, with intermittent rain and the wind blowing. I was really impressed with the guys staying patient and trying to post some good scores.”

“Our team knew that it was important for us to play well in this tournament. With six Missouri Valley conference teams and 18 teams participating, we felt like we had a good opportunity to play a course that we had familiarity and win. I was very pleased with three improved team scores and the fact that we were in a good position after the first 36 holes to make a run at winning the tournament.”

“Drew played in the five position for us and gave us a terrific even par score. He played almost effortlessly for us all day. Caleb was magnificent the entire tournament. This was the best ball-striking and short-game performance all year. He really made a run at the very end of his round to try to win and just came up short. We are thrilled with his runner-up medalist finish.”

Up Next

Valpo will be back in action on Monday, March 29 to begin the two-day Butler Spring Invitational in Indianapolis.