VanArragon Notches Second Consecutive Runner-Up Finish
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
VanArragon Notches Second Consecutive Runner-Up Finish
Caleb VanArragon turned in his second straight runner-up finish this week at Butler.

The Valparaiso University men’s golf team garnered its second straight top-3 finish this week at the Butler Spring Invitational in Indianapolis. The team placed third in an 11-team field, led by the contributions of sophomore Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine), who achieved his second straight individual runner-up showing.  

How It Happened

  • VanArragon carded an even par in Tuesday’s third and final round on the par-70, 6551-yard Highland Golf & Country Club course. The Valpo sophomore finished at par for the tournament, posting a 210 (72-68-70). He finished a single stroke behind individual medalist Antoine Sale of Indian Hills CC, who used a 69 (-1) on Tuesday to finish one under for the tournament. VanArragon’s runner-up finish came in an 11-team, 70-player field.
  • As a team, Valpo carded a 291 (+11) in Tuesday’s final round, completing the event at 870. The Brown & Gold finished behind team champion Indian Hills and host Butler, but topped Missouri Valley Conference opponent Loyola by seven strokes for third.
  • VanArragon was not the only member of head coach Dave Gring’s team to garner a top-10 finish. Junior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) stroked a 71 (+1) on Tuesday to check in at t-10 for the event with a 54-hole score of 217.
  • Senior Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) and freshman Alex Heck (Greenwood, Ind. / Center Grove) both turned in 75s on the event’s final day. Seward finished at t-19 with a tournament score of 222.
  • Golfing as an individual, Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) was also in the top 20, finishing as part of the tie for 19th with Seward.

Inside the Round

  • Valpo’s team score of 870 was a single stroke behind its performance of 869 last week for the team’s top overall score this season. The 870 ranks seventh in modern program history in 54-hole tournament low, marking the second straight tournament the team has cracked the program record book in that category.
  • VanArragon’s 210 was one stroke off his 209 from a week ago. Prior to last week, only two individuals in modern program history owned 54-hole tournament overall scores of 210 or better (Nick Seitz once and Peter Webb three times). Now, VanArragon has done so in consecutive tournaments.
  • His 210 this week stands in sole possession of sixth in program history, while his 209 a week ago is tied for fourth in individual 54-hole tournament overall score.
  • In only his second season at Valpo, VanArragon now owns six Top-10 finishes, four of which have seen him finish in the Top 5. He has three career individual runner-up finishes, two of which have come over the last two tournaments.  
  • VanArragon birdied 10 holes, tied for the second most in the field. As a team, Valpo accrued 31 birdies, the second most among participating squads.  

Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring

“This was the second consecutive tournament that we were right in the mix to win the event during the final round. We knew that we had to put together a really solid closing round, finishing somewhere around par for our team score today. The guys had a terrific mindset, not anxious, but excited to compete for the title. I felt their focus was excellent today, playing in the moment and staying focused on each shot. They never got out in front of themselves and they played with determination.”

“One of the great things about competition is that it tells the player and coaching staff exactly what needs the attention in practice. We’ve had four tournaments this spring, and the guys keep playing better with each round even if the score doesn’t show it. The confidence continues to build and we know what part of the game each of our guys needs to improve. While we have hit a lot of really good shots and posted some very solid scores this spring, our best golf is still in front of us.”

“The golf course was in tremendous shape and the greens were rolling very well. It was a joy to have the entire team traveling and participating in this tournament. Every one of our players has played multiple events this spring, and the competition is what these guys really desire.”

“After playing +4 in his first nine holes, Caleb really settled down well into the back nine of his first round and the following two rounds. He played his last 45 holes at -4, and there was a part of it that seemed almost effortless. I can’t express enough how many putts that he had for birdie literally hit the hole and just missed – he had four or five of those today alone. Caleb puts the quality time in with team practice and so much practice time on his own. He’s finished second individually for these past two tournaments, and he knows that he still has better rounds in his tank. It was good for our entire team to watch him perform well for us this weekend.”

Up Next

Valpo’s next action will be the final tournament prior to the MVC Championship, the Wright State Invitational in Springboro, Ohio on April 19-20. That will serve as a precursor to the MVC Championship, hosted by Loyola in Flossmoor, Ill. on April 26-27.