With eight opponents to face off against in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) golf championship tournament, The Brown and Gold finished fourth overall.
The fourth place finish came after ending the first day and first two rounds of the tournament in sixth place.
The improvement came not only from a good night’s rest and a mental reset, but also from a change of pace in the weather conditions helped.
“We just tried to forget everything that happened the last couple of days and go play our games,” Sophomore Caleb VanArragon said.
The conference championship was hosted at the Flossmoor Country Club, playing on a Par 72 7,070 yard course.
Besides the toughness of the course , Gring commented that the weather conditions did not favor the Brown and Gold over the three rounds.
“We didn’t realize how fast and firm the greens were going to play and the 20-30mph winds made the conditions very challenging,” said Head Coach David Gring on a press release from ValpoAthletics.com.
Predictions had the Brown and Gold finishing in the tournament third place overall.
Setting aggressive goals was Valpo's strategy in the tournament. Gring commented that he saw a great sense of ‘momentum and a quiet conference’ through each round.
“Within each spring tournament, we had seen progress in our preparation and results,” Gring said from a press release on ValpoAthletics.com. “We felt like we had a good plan in place for attacking the golf course the past couple of days.”
VanArragon led the way for the Brown and Gold, placing fifth overall on the course.
After ending the first two rounds shooting +1 over par and +4 over par, he finished the third round shooting +3 over par. The sophomore posted six birdies through the three rounds.
Gring commented that while VanArragon did not chip in as many birdies as in past matches, he was still tremendous in battling such a tough course.
“That provides an indication as to how challenging the course was playing,” said Gring on a press release from ValpoAthletics.com.“He really managed the golf course well and he just kept battling the elements like the rest of the team.”
Junior Garrett Willis finished 18th overall and second for the team. Willis showed great improvement, carding +7 over par in the first round and +5 over par in the second. He concluded with +4 over par in the final round.
VanArragon commented that his mindset contributed to his improvement of his score over the three rounds.
“If he hits a bad shot, he doesn’t let it affect his future shots,” said VanArragon. “I think the fact that he was able to improve throughout the tournament just shows his mental toughness.”
Senior Brett Seward and freshman Mason Bonn tied for 21st place for Valpo. Seward initially scored +5 over par, dipped down to +9 over par, and then came back down +5 over par.
Senior Drew Alexander placed fifth for Valpo. He carded +9 over par, but did not play in the second round. Senior Jack Juskow subbed in and scored +9 over par. Alexander came back the next day and scored even par in the third round.
The team will finish their season with a team scoring average of 296.50.
They fell short of the school-record team scoring average of 296.2, a record that was posted back in the 2014-15 Horizon League season.