Junior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) trimmed seven strokes off his Round-1 score, helping the Valparaiso University men’s golf team make a second-round surge on Monday’s opening day of the Bubba Barnett Intercollegiate, hosted by Arkansas State at the par-72, 6565-yard RidgePointe Country Club in Jonesboro, Ark.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s top golfer incurred a rare hiccup in Round 1, when he posted his highest score of the season, a still-respectable 75 (+3). VanArragon righted the ship in a resounding manner over the final 18 holes of the day, going one stroke off a career low with a 68 (-4).
- The second-round showing helped VanArragon surge to t-2 on the player leaderboard in a 95-player field at 143 (-1) through 36 holes. The junior is tied with Dustin Hasley of Oral Roberts and sits just one stroke back of Arkansas State’s Jack Madden (142, -2) in the chase for medalist honors. Madden too enjoyed a remarkable Round-2 turnaround by trimming 10 strokes off his Round-1 score with a 66.
- Senior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) enjoyed a solid day and is well within striking distance of a top-10 finish at t-11. He needed 74 strokes in Round 1 and 73 in Round 2 to close the day at 147 (+3).
- Senior Yianni Kostouros (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point (Ball State) and freshman Anthony Delisanti (Sanborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) had identical scores as both carded 77s in Round 1 and followed with 75s in Round 2. They finished the day tied for 41st at 152 (+8). All five players in the lineup carded 75 or better in the second round.
- The Beacons vaulted four spots on the team leaderboard in Round 2, climbing into a four-way tie for third in a crowded upper echelon of a 17-team field. Thanks to a 291 in Round 2 following a 303 in the opening 18, Valpo closed the day at 594 (+18), deadlocked with Oral Roberts, Oklahoma Christian and Creighton. That group is just two strokes behind second-place Loyola, while the host Red Wolves own a sizable lead at 581 (+5).
Inside the Rounds
- VanArragon’s 68 in Round 2 is his second-best showing of the season, behind only a 67 at the Zach Johnson Invitational. In relation to par, Monday’s second round of four under ties for VanArragon’s career best.
- By going minus-four in Round 2, VanArragon tied for 10th in modern program history in 18-hole score in relation to par.
- Valpo’s best statistical performance came on par-4 holes, where the team ranked third in the field with a 4.27 average.
- The Beacons boasted 26 birdies, led by Willis with eight and VanArragon with seven.
- Kostouros nailed an eagle in Round 2, utilizing just three strokes on the par-5 sixth hole.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“With some rain and wind at the beginning of the first round, we definitely had a very slow start to our day. We certainly struggled in the first six holes, playing those at 10 over. We knew that we were starting on the toughest stretch of the course, and we dug ourselves a hole to start the day. The guys showed some poise and resolve, knowing that they had a lot of golf still to play. We played the last two thirds of the round at five over and finished on a better note.”
“We started the second round on the same stretch of challenging back nine holes and played those even par. It was a solid start for the afternoon round, and the guys played with a lot more energy and confidence. We doubled our birdie production from the first round and greatly reduced the number of double bogeys that we had in the first round – we only had two in the afternoon round. We played the Par 5s better in the second round, but still not to the level that we need. I was very pleased with the Par-3 scoring in the second round.”
“Caleb continues to play very solid for us this fall. His birdie production was really good in the second round, with six birdies in the round and only two bogeys. He just couldn’t get the putts to drop in the first round. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and his ball-striking has been exceptional. The team is going to carry some momentum into tomorrow, and we have a terrific opportunity to finish the tournament well.”
Tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday with the competitors teeing off the first and 10th holes to commence the third and final round of the event. A link to live scoring via GolfStat is available on ValpoAthletics.com.