The Valparaiso University men’s golf team put together a strong first day at the team’s annual home tournament on Monday. Valpo enters Tuesday’s final round in second of 12 teams at the Valpo Fall Invitational, hosted at the par-72, 7042-yard Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Ind. Sophomore Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood) is atop the individual leaderboard through 36 holes.
How It Happened
- Bonn enjoyed a quality day out of the No. 5 position in the Valpo lineup and holds sole possession of the top spot in the 73-player field. He stroked a 73 (+1) in Round 1 before posting a 67 (-5) in Round 2 to finish the day at 140 (-4). He owns a one-stroke lead on Detroit Mercy’s James Hill with four other individuals, all from Wright State, tied for third and just two strokes off the pace.
- Junior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) posted a 143 (72-71) to finish the day one stroke under par. He is three strokes behind Bonn in the race for medalist honors.
- Yianni Kostouros (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point [Ball State]) went even par in both rounds to finish the day at 144, eighth on the individual leaderboard.
- The Beacons enter the final day of competition with five players in the top 10. Freshman Anthony Delisanti (Saborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) was part of that group after going 71-74 on Monday to finish the 36 holes at 145 (+1), which puts him at t-9.
- The quintet of Beacons in the top 10 also includes freshman Sam Booth (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel), who is golfing as an individual. He was tied for third on the leaderboard through one round after carding a 70 (-2) and finished the day tied for ninth after a 75 in Round 2 (145, +1).
- Valpo is four strokes behind Wright State for the top spot on the team leaderboard, while the Beacons own a 22-stroke advantage over third-place Detroit Mercy. Valpo posted a 288 in Round 1 before carding a 284 in Round 2 to finish the day at 572 (-4).
Inside the Rounds
- Bonn’s Round-2 score shaved four strokes off his previous career-low of 71. It also garnered a place in the Valpo record book, tied for the sixth-best single-round score in the program’s modern era. Bonn became the first Valpo golfer to card a 67 since Jack Juskow on Feb. 15, 2020 at the Invitation at Savannah Harbor.
- By going five strokes under par, Bonn also joined elite company. His round tied for sixth in program history in 18-hole score in relation to par. He became the first Valpo golfer since Juskow in that same 2020 event to go five under or better. In addition, Bonn joins Juskow, Drew Alexander, Peter Webb (4x), Jared Magoline and Nick Seitz as the only Valpo golfers since the program’s 2009 relaunch to enjoy a round of five under or better.
- The team score of 284 (-4) in Round 2 represented one of the program’s all-time best marks. The overall score tied for sixth in the program’s modern history and accounted for the team’s best single-round score since a 283 in Round 2 of the Invitation at Savannah Harbor on Feb. 15, 2020.
- The 18-hole score in relation to par of four under is also tied for sixth in program history in that area and is the best since the team went five under in the aforementioned Savannah Harbor round.
- Valpo holds the best Par-3 (3.00) and Par-5 (4.50) scoring averages in the tournament and is second to only Wright State on Par-4 holes (4.23).
- Four Beacons had eagles on the day. Bonn eagled the Par-4 second hole in Round 2, Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) turned the trick on the Par-5 sixth hole in Round 2, Kostouros did so on the Par-5 first hole of Round 1 and Booth achieved the feat on the Par-5 first hole of Round 2.
- Valpo also produced 38 birdies, led by 10 from Kostouros.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“We had some rainy conditions that we have not seen in practice or play since the start of our season. The guys were well prepared and I thought they managed everything terrifically, whether that was simply staying dry or how a shot was going to react on the wet green. These 36-hole days are long, but I felt their focus was consistent each hole and every shot, staying in the moment. I felt this was very evident with the strong finish to the second round, playing the last six holes at 10 under.”
“After our first tournament, we talked about the importance of playing the Par 3s well, and this was a big area of improvement for us today. I was thrilled to see us playing the Par 3s at even par today and Mason and Anthony leading the way at two under. We also discussed the importance of scoring on the Par 5s, and it’s good to see the guys taking advantage of those opportunities also. We still need to clean-up some of the poor shot execution and/or course management on the Par 4s with the double and triple bogeys."
“Sam and Anthony had terrific first rounds at two and one under, respectively. Mason and Caleb stepped up for us in the second round at five and one under, respectively. Six birdies and an eagle for Mason in the second round is masterful work and our team is thrilled to see him scoring on that level, which he’s totally capable of doing. Add to that two even par rounds by Yianni and one by Caleb and it was a solid team effort across the board.”
The third and final round of the Valpo Fall Invitational will take place on Tuesday at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Ind. Tee times will begin off the first and 10th tees. Live scoring will be available via GolfStat.