Another positive day on the links for the Valparaiso University men’s golf team has the squad in position to compete for a team title entering Tuesday’s final round at the Butler Spring Invitational, hosted at the par-70, 6551-yard Highland Golf & Country Club in Indianapolis. Led once again by sophomore Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine), Valpo is second in an 11-team field entering Tuesday’s final round.
How It Happened
- After finishing as the runner-up in a 108-player field in his most recent event, VanArragon is in the upper echelon among competing individuals again this week. He enters the final round locked in a three-way tie for second at 140 (E). He tied for the best Round-2 score in the tournament at 68 (-2), moving to within two strokes of individual leader Cameron Luczka of Indiana Wesleyan. The Butler Spring Invitational features an 11-team, 70-player field.
- As a team, Valpo is behind only tournament leader Indian Hills CC (569, +9) entering the final day. The Brown & Gold sit at 579 (+19) after posting a Round-1 score of 292 (+12) and a Round-2 mark of 287 (+7).
- Valpo had the second-best team score in the tournament in Round 2, just three strokes behind Indian Hills CC. The Brown & Gold usurped Butler (288-293, 581; +21) in the second round to move up to second place. Valpo also leads MVC competitor Loyola, which sits in fourth at 584.
- Golfing as an individual, Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) put together a strong showing. He went 72-73 to finish the day at 145 (+5), tied for 11th overall.
- Junior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) also ranks among the top 20 individuals with a 36-hole score of 146 (72-74; +6), checking in at t-17.
- Senior Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) and freshman Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood) tied for 21st on the individual leaderboard at 147 (+7), just one stroke behind Willis as part of a balanced Valpo effort. Willis, Bonn and VanArragon all tied for the team’s best Round-1 score at 72.
Inside the Rounds
- VanArragon’s 68 matched his career and season low round. This marks the second straight tournament the Valpo sophomore has posted an 18-hole score of 68.
- Valpo is second in the field in both Par-3 and Par-5 scoring and third in Par-4 scoring.
- The Brown & Gold rank second among participating teams with 22 birdies over the first two rounds. VanArragon is at the forefront of that, tied for second in the field with seven birdies.
- VanArragon’s 68 tied his own mark for the best single-round score on the team this season, a stroke count he posted twice previously.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“In the first round, our putting was poor and we really struggled with our proximity to the hole in regulation, especially with our wedges and short irons. We didn’t play sharp in hitting the greens in regulation, even though our accuracy off the tee was sufficient. We had a challenging starting point on the course and we never really got anything going as a team. Because of the poor proximity to the hole, our birdie production was low.”
“In the second round, we had a much better start and the guys made a lot of pars. Our birdie production was still low, but we didn’t sprinkle in as many double bogeys. Our distance control with our irons seemed to be a challenge all day, but the guys still hit a lot of greens in regulation and played better as a team in the second round.”
“After the first nine holes, Caleb was four over par. He finished the round with all pars and two birdies on the back nine. In his second round, he had four birdies and two bogeys, playing very steady for us. I was impressed with how he battled back from a rough start to the tournament and put himself in position to win the tournament individually.”
“We’re going to need to improve our accuracy off the tee in the fairways on Tuesday. Add to that some better short iron/wedge play and better putting, and we will have an opportunity to bring home a victory. We will have to bring our best, and the guys are excited to get out and play Round 3.”
The two-day tournament will conclude with the third and final round on Tuesday in Indianapolis. A link to live scoring via GolfStat is available on ValpoAthletics.com.