Valpo Holds Top Spot Through Two Rounds at Home Tournament
Monday, September 18, 2023
Valpo Holds Top Spot Through Two Rounds at Home Tournament
Freshman Adam Melliere was among the Beacons who stepped up on Monday.

Despite competing without the services of two of the squad’s top three golfers, the Valparaiso University men’s golf team holds the top spot with one round remaining at the Valpo Fall Invitational, which began on Monday with the first two rounds at the par-72, 7054-yard Sand Creek Country Club course in Chesterton, Ind. Fifth-year senior Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) pulled away from the rest of the tournament field on the first day of the event, leading a Valpo lineup that played without junior Anthony Delisanti (Sanborn, N.Y. / Niagara Wheatfield) due to illness and senior Mason Bonn (Sherwood, Ore. / Sherwood) due to an injury.

How It Happened

  • VanArragon jumped out to the lead by pacing the 63-player field with a 66 (-6) in Round 1 before carding a 67 (-5) in Round 2. He finished the day at 133 (-11), unfazed by rainy and wet conditions during the start of the morning round. He owns a large 12-stroke lead on the nearest competition going into Monday’s final round. Artemiy Yalovenko of DePaul is second on the player leaderboard at 145 (+1).
  • On a day where Valpo’s lineup depth was tested, sophomore Owen Sander (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) and freshman Adam Melliere (Zionsville, Ind. / Zionsville) were among those who stepped up. Sander stroked a 74 (+2) to finish the day at 148, tied for sixth. He’s joined in that spot by Melliere, who shaved eight strokes off his Round-1 score to post a 70 (-2) in Round 2, second on the team in that round after his opening-round score was dropped.
  • Out of the No. 5 spot in an injury and illness riddled lineup, junior Grant Norman (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Blackhawk) rose to the occasion in a big way in Round 1. He delivered the second-best opening-round showing on the team with a 73 (+1) and finished the day at 151, tied for 18th.
  • Freshman Elliot Lee (Tillamook, Ore. / Tillamook) golfed as an individual and posted an even-par second round at 72, finishing the day tied for 23rd at 152.
  • Valpo sits atop the nine-team field at 577 (+1), possessing a 16-stroke lead on second-place Evansville (593, +17) with 18 holes remaining. The Beacons turned in a 290 (+2) in the opening round before improving to 287 (-1) in Round 2.

Inside the Rounds

  • VanArragon’s Round-1 score of 66 ranks tied for eighth in modern program history for 18-hole overall score. His Round-1 score in relation to par of six under ranks tied for sixth in modern program history and tied his career best.  
  • There have been 20 rounds of five under or better in modern program history (since 2009), and seven of those have been VanArragon, including four already this season. Of those 20 rounds, 11 have been either VanArragon or Delisanti.
  • Norman’s 73 in the opening round outdid his previous career low by four strokes.
  • Lee made his collegiate debut on Monday.
  • Melliere’s 70 marked the best round of his young collegiate career.
  • Valpo leads the tournament in both par-4 scoring (4.22) and par-5 scoring (4.65).
  • The Beacons have produced the most pars (107) and birdies (32) in the tournament field.
  • VanArragon has drained 12 birdies to lead all competitors, while Norman has chipped in seven.
  • VanArragon leads the tournament in both par-3 scoring (2.75) and par-4 scoring (3.75).

Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring

“Over the past few years we have been fortunate not to compete in very many rainy conditions. That wasn't the case today. Throughout the majority of the first round, we had to deal with some pretty wet conditions, keeping the clubs and ourselves dry and working through the adversity of rain starting and stopping. The guys really kept their composure well and they dealt with the wet, muddy conditions well. We made a lot of steady pars, along with some quality birdies. We only had a couple double bogeys in the morning round and the team did a nice job of saving pars around the greens. Grant Norman was playing in the fifth spot and Owen Sander was playing in the third spot for us. Both of the guys gave us solid first-round scores and their ball-striking was excellent.”

“The birdie production during our second round matched the first round. We had a slower start to our second round, but we finished the round with seven birdies in the last four holes. It was a long day on the golf course with 36 holes, but the guys kept their focus very well and finished the round very strong. Adam Melleire was playing in the fourth spot for us and he had his best round of the season, with four birdies and only two bogeys. Owen gave us another solid round at +2 and our team scoring improved three shots in the second round.”

“It's been a lot of fun to watch Caleb VanArragon play golf this fall! His decision making on the golf course is exemplary, his course management is well thought out and his scoring is palpable. He still left a number of birdie putts out on the course and his ball-striking wasn’t his best, but he's playing with a lot of confidence and poise. During the middle of his two rounds, he played even par for 13 holes. His start to the first round and the back nine of the final round were extremely admirable.”

Up Next

The tournament will wrap up with the third and final round on Tuesday. Tee times will be off the first and 10th tees beginning at 7:30 a.m. A link to live scoring via GolfStat is available on