The Valparaiso men's golf team leads the CSU Cougar Classic in Chicago, Ill. after one day of competition, led by fifth-year senior Brad Winters (Elgin, Ill./Saint Edward [Dayton]), who matched a program record on Monday by shooting a three-under-par round.
The Crusaders actually sent two separate squads to the two-day tournament, hosted by Chicago State. Valpo's 'gold' team shot a two-under-par 286 as a squad on Monday, the second-best round in relation to par in program history, to lead the team standings by four points. Meanwhile, the Crusaders' 'brown' team sits in seventh place out of 11 teams after shooting an opening 305.
“It was good to have ten guys playing in this event, and the team effort across the board was terrific,” said Crusader head coach David Gring. “We hit a lot of fairways and greens in regulation, and the guys had good course management, on a course and in a tournament that we haven't played before.”
Winters went under par on both sides on Monday to match the program record for best round in relation to par. The fifth-year senior went out in 34 before coming home in 35 for a 69 (-3). Winters was joined by senior Austin Gaugert (Lake Geneva, Wis./Badger) under par on Monday, as the latter shot an opening 71 to sit in a tie for fifth place after the first round.
“Brad Winters' ball striking was exemplary today, and he turned-in a rock-solid performance,” said Gring.
Junior Kyle Henning (Brookfield, Wis./East) and sophomore Eric Winters (Elgin, Ill./Saint Edward) posted matching 73s on Monday to enter Tuesday in a tie for 12th place. Meanwhile, sophomore Joe Harris (Washington, Iowa/Washington) rounded out Valpo's 'gold' team with an opening-round 78, good for a tie for 38th place.
The Crusaders' 'brown' team was paced Monday by freshman Matt Ward (Plainfield, Ill./South), who closed the opening round in a tie for fifth place with a 71. Junior Thomas Wettstein (Neenah, Wis./Xavier) shot a 75 on Monday, good for a tie for 19th place, while freshman Michael Holevas (Elgin, Ill./Saint Edward Central Catholic) is tied for 38th after an opening 78. Senior Andy Webb (Bedford, Ind./North Lawrence) posted an 81 Monday to enter Tuesday in 52nd place, and senior Josh Kalita (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) rounded out the squad with an 85, good for a tie for 61st position.
“For freshman Matt Ward to play in his first collegiate tournament, and shoot a sub-par opening round, was very exciting for him and our team,” said Gring.
Valparaiso closes out the two-day event on Tuesday, with the first group leaving the clubhouse tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.