The Valparaiso University men’s golf team rounded out the 2017-18 season on Tuesday at Dalhousie Country Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The Crusaders exceeded expectations in their first MVC Championship, finishing two spots higher than predicted in the Pre-Championship Poll of the conference’s head coaches.
How It Happened
- The sixth-place Crusaders were led by senior Michael Doherty (Lisle, Ill. / Naperville North), who turned in a team-low 76 in Tuesday’s final round. He finished with a 54-hole score of 228, which allowed him to partake in a tie for 16th.
- Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) finished at t-21 after an 83 in Round 3. His 54-hole score was 232.
- Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) and Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) placed 32nd and 37th, respectively, in their first conference championship. Alexander closed out his rookie campaign with an 18-hole score of 80 to finish at 236, while Seward’s 81 on Tuesday put him at 241.
- Matthew McCarthy (O’Fallon, Ill. / Althoff Catholic) finished the season with an 81, which placed him in 40th at 246.
- As a team, Valpo stroked a 318 on Tuesday, finishing the three-round event at 931. Valpo was five strokes ahead of seventh-place Evansville and also finished in front of Loyola and UNI.
Inside the Rounds
- Bradley won the event with an 883, clinching an NCAA Tournament berth by outdoing second-place Southern Illinois by 15 strokes. The Braves were led by Drake Bushong (217), who took home medalist honors.
- Finishing tied for 16th marked Doherty’s highest finish since the Crusader Collegiate, when he was seventh of 28. He competed in a 45-player field this week in Missouri.
- Valpo finished second in the nine-team field in Par 3 scoring at 3.30. Alexander led the way with 33 pars, while Doherty had 31. Doherty paced the team with seven birdies, while the Crusaders totaled 24 as a group.
- Alexander and Doherty, a freshman and a senior, finished in an exact tie for the team lead in season scoring average. Both needed precisely 2,061 strokes over 27 rounds this year, an average of 76.33.
- Doherty finished his senior season with a career scoring average of 77.09, which puts him ninth in program history. He competed in 68 rounds in his Crusader career.
- Zach Cutler (O’Fallon, Mo. / Timberland) played 81 rounds of golf during his Valpo tenure and finished with a scoring average of 77.52.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“We had our challenges on the golf course today and the shot execution was simply not there. As good as we played yesterday in the second round with hitting greens and fairways, today we struggled with putting ourselves in the right places on the golf course. All of the intentions were positive, but we didn’t play well.”
“I sensed that the guys were really excited to play the third round, especially after the solid second round yesterday. They seemed a little nervous starting today’s round, with wanting to finish our first conference tournament very strong. We couldn’t get that rhythm going to start the round and the bogeys were outweighing the pars and birdies.”
“Michael’s ball striking was solid again today and he had numerous birdie putts just coming up short, right in the hole. He kept battling the entire tournament and was so close to having a low round today. He seemed to really enjoy playing his last collegiate round and I was very proud of his efforts in this tournament.”
“Michael and Zach were tremendous captains and leaders for us this entire season. They were instrumental in leading the youngest team that we have ever had to date. Anyone that has been a coach knows that it’s difficult to close another chapter of student-athletes finishing their college years. You remember all of the practice, travel, meetings and competition and it brings a smile to everyone’s face. The two of them are more than excited for the next chapter in their stories and they will do exemplary.”