Junior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) polished off another top-two finish on Tuesday by closing out the Zach Johnson Invitational at five strokes under par over 54 holes. VanArragon’s efforts helped the Valparaiso University men’s golf team finish third in a 15-team field at the event, which was hosted by Drake at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.
How It Happened
- VanArragon was a stroke over par on the par-71, 6898-yard course in the third and final round on Tuesday. That closed out a 54-hole score of 208 (68-67-72) to finish tied for second in the 84-player field. VanArragon tied with Drake’s Lucas Sherf for runner-up honors, while Southern Illinois’ Matthis Besard took medalist by five strokes at 203 (-10).
- Freshman Anthony Delisanti (Saborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) had the team’s top Round-3 score with a 70 (-1) to finish the tournament at 214 (+1). He narrowly missed a top-10 finish, placing tied for 11th.
- Sophomore Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood) carded even par on Tuesday to finish the 54 holes at 218 (+5), which put him at t-20 for the event.
- As a team, Valpo replicated its Round-2 score with another 286 on Tuesday. The Beacons finished the week at 857 (+5), four strokes behind a first-place tie between Drake and North Dakota State.
Inside the Round
- VanArragon’s 208 represented the best 54-hole tournament score in his collegiate career. He tied with Peter Webb for the third-best tournament score in program history and became just the third Valpo golfer in the program’s modern era to card 208 or better in a tournament, joining Webb (x2) and Nick Seitz. VanArragon’s performance this week was the best tournament score by a Valpo individual since April 2017.
- By going five strokes under par for the event, VanArragon also tied for fourth in program history in 54-hole score in relation to par.
- VanArragon finished as the tournament runner-up for the second consecutive event. This is the sixth time in his collegiate career that the Valpo junior finished as either the individual medalist or tournament runner-up.
- Valpo’s 54-hole team score of 857 marked the third-best tournament team score in program history, and one of the two tournaments ahead of this one is last week’s Valpo Fall Invitational. Prior to last week, Valpo had gone under 858 just once in program history, and now the Beacons have done so in consecutive tournaments.
- At five strokes over par for the event, Valpo also tied for fourth in program history in 54-hole tournament low in relation to par.
- Valpo finished the tournament with a 3.05 average on par-3 holes while producing a 4.16 average on Par 4s. The Beacons ranked first and second in Par-3 and Par-4 scoring, respectively.
- The team totaled 46 birdies, a dozen of which came courtesy of VanArragon.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
"We had a terrific opportunity today to close the gap on the small stroke deficit after the first two rounds, but we simply weren't able to really get any momentum going today. We seemed to hover around even par the entire tournament and we weren't able to put together that run of birides in any of the rounds. The guys played with terrific attitudes and really grinded until the end. We had a few mental mistakes on the last couple of holes and we couldn't get the putts to drop down the final stretch to stay in contention. We knew we had the opportunity for the win today, but we will chalk another gritty loss to experience and look forward to the next opportunity."
"We led the first two tournaments that we played this fall in Par-5 scoring. We weren't able to take advantage of some pretty easy Par-5s in this tournament and that was one of the factors that led to us falling short. Playing the Par-5s only nine under is just not good enough and it was the primary difference between us and the top two teams. We left a lot of opportunities out there on the putting greens, but they were quite challenging and the entire field played the same greens. We just weren't quite sharp enough with our shot execution when we really needed it during some points during the rounds and that led to us coming up short at the end."
"I'm proud of this team and what we have been able to accomplish this fall in our first three tournaments. We have over an 82 percent winning percentage and three Top-5 finishes in the first three events. We have some new faces on our team that are still learning our team culture and how we prepare for and manage our tournaments. Everyone is playing hard and really putting a lot of heart into the tournaments and that's what we want to see in each event. We have another week to prepare and practice for our next tournament and the guys are ready to put in the work."
The team will compete in the Spirit Hollow Fall Shootout on Wednesday, Oct. 6 in Burlington, Iowa.