The Valparaiso University men’s golf team started the season with a strong opening day at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate on Sunday, finishing a long first day of competition with a 36-hole score of 601 (+25). Valpo currently sits in ninth in a quality field of 18 teams.
How It Happened
- Senior Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) started his final collegiate season by leading his team with a 146 (+2) over two rounds. His best round came in the second, when he trimmed six strokes off his opening-round score to card a 70. He enters Monday’s final round tied for 18th in a field of 100 players.
- Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) started his sophomore season with a 69 (-3), the best single-round score by a Valpo player on Sunday. He finished the day with a 148 (+4), tied for second on the team and 29th among all competitors.
- Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) made his Valpo debut with a 72 in Round 1 and a 76 in Round 2. He is part of the tie for 29th with Seward at 148.
- Sophomore Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) finished the day with a 159, while Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) carded a 160 over the first two rounds of his first collegiate tournament.
Inside the Rounds
- Valpo has a one-stroke edge on 10th-place Youngstown State and is three strokes behind eighth-place Sacred Heart in a tight field.
- Valpo’s Round 1 team score of 295 (+7) was tied for fourth through 18 holes.
- Toman didn’t waste any time in notching the first eagle of his collegiate career, as he needed just three strokes on the Par 5 sixth hole in the first round.
- Seward established a new 18-hole career low with his 69. It was the best single-round score by a Valpo player since Alexander carded a 65 on Sept. 25, 2017. Seward’s previous personal best was a 71, achieved at the Bash at the Beach Collegiate Invite last March.
- Valpo is in a three-way tie for the top Par 3 scoring average at 3.03
- With 32 birdies through two rounds, Valpo ranks third in the 18-team field in that area behind only host Missouri (47) and North Dakota State (34).
- In the 100-player field, only seven had 10 or more birdies on Saturday. Two of those were Valpo players as Seward and Wittmann notched 10 apiece.
- Entering the final 18 holes, Missouri leads the way in the team scoring at 10 strokes under par, with North Dakota State’s even par the next best mark. Boston College’s Christian Cavailiere is in the top spot individually at seven strokes under par.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“It felt good to get the competitive season started today by working on strategy, swing thoughts and execution on the golf course with each player. This is our first time participating in this event and I was pleased with the performance of the guys, especially for our first 36 holes of the season. We had never seen the golf course until yesterday, and I felt the guys had a good game plan set up in how to attack and manage the course. We learned a lot on this first day and the competition always seems to highlight that for each player.”
“Our birdie production was tremendous, especially in the first round. The guys were putting themselves in good positions on the greens and making a lot of birdie putts. Their reads on the greens were excellent, along with the overall speed of their putts. In the second round, we didn't have as many birdies, but we still had a lot of good looks.”
“One area that we will strive to improve on with tomorrow's third round is making better swings on critical holes on the course, along with trying to improve more on our shot execution. We had too many double and triple bogeys in both rounds, and those really affected our overall score. I'm confident that we can clean that up well for tomorrow and have some better scores, especially if the birdie production continues.”
“For our first two rounds of the year, it was very exciting to already see what we are capable of doing. We will continue to make those changes and improvements and look forward to a solid third round."
The tournament continues with the third and final round on Labor Day Monday. Live scoring is available via BirdieFire.