Entering the final round of the tournament, the Valparaiso University men’s golf team is in the mix for the team title at the Zach Johnson Invitational, which is being hosted by Drake at the par-71, 6898-yard Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa this week. In addition to the team’s competitive showing on Monday, junior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) is vying for medalist honors through two rounds.
How It Happened
- As a team, Valpo sits in fourth place as part of a tightly-packed top five in the 15-team field. After shooting a 285 (+1) in Round 1 on Monday, the Beacons finished the afternoon round at 286 (+2) for a Day 1 total of 571 (+3). Valpo is just four strokes behind tournament-leading North Dakota State, two strokes behind second-place Loyola and one stroke in back of host Drake.
- VanArragon enjoyed a stellar day, finishing the 36 holes at six strokes under par (136). He carded a 69 (-2) in Round 1 before improving to a 67 (-4) in Round 2. He faces a two-stroke deficit on Southern Illinois’ Matthis Besard (66-68, 134) for the top spot on the player leaderboard.
- Golfing as an individual, freshman Sam Booth (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) boasted consecutive rounds of par or better on Monday. He went even with a 71 on the first 18 before carding a 69 (-2) in Round 2 to finish the day at 140 (-2), tied for sixth in a field that features 84 players.
- Freshman Anthony Delisanti (Saborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) stands at t-16 among competing players through one day of golf. He had a consistent showing by going a stroke over in each round to finish the 36 holes at 144 (+2).
- Senior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Blackhawk) trimmed four strokes off his Round-1 score by finishing at even par in Round 2, while Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood) was even through 18 holes before finishing the day five over.
Inside the Round
- VanArragon enjoyed the best round of his illustrious 71-round collegiate career on Monday. His Round-2 score of 67 established a career low, outdoing his previous low of 68 that came on four occasions last season.
- VanArragon golfed the 15th round of 67 or better in modern program history, a feat most recently accomplished by Bonn in the second round of last week’s Valpo Fall Invitational. VanArragon’s performance in Monday’s second round joins a tie for sixth in program history (since the program’s 2009 relaunch).
- VanArragon’s minus-4 in the second round tied for ninth in the aforementioned record book for 18-hole score in relation to par.
- If VanArragon shoots under 70 on Tuesday, he will shatter the program’s 54-hole tournament record of 206.
- Booth’s second-round score of 69 marked the first sub-70 round of his young collegiate career.
- Valpo leads the tournament field on par-3 holes with an even-par average of 3.00.
- The Beacons have 32 birdies in the tournament, led by VanArragon’s 10, a total that is tied for third in the field.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“While there were a lot of good shots with greens in regulation and hitting fairways off the tee, we still didn’t play very sharply today. We lost a lot of shots on the greens and we will need to clean that up for the final round. I thought that our reading of the greens was adequate, but not great. Our real problem was playing to the speed of the greens, especially on our putts inside of 15 feet. The greens were running very fast and we seemed to really be pressing on making putts from that distance.”
“Caleb played terrific for us today. He had 10 birdies and four bogeys, with the remaining 22 holes all pars. He’s really playing with a lot of confidence, both with his shots into the greens and his putting. He’s done well not getting himself into trouble, especially off the tee. He’s hitting the ball to the right places on the course and giving himself a lot of opportunities for birdies.”
“Our Par-3 scoring was solid again today. We definitely did not take advantage of the Par 5s at all, and we’re going to have to play those better tomorrow. There are too many opportunities to score on the Par 5s, and getting off the tee more effectively is imperative. The team knows what we need to do tomorrow and we’re excited to get after it.”
The team will play the final 18 holes of the Zach Johnson Invitational on Tuesday. Live scoring is available via BirdieFire.