The Valparaiso University men’s golf team closed out a strong Labor Day weekend showing by turning in a team score of six over par (294) in the final round of the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate on Monday. Valpo climbed from ninth to seventh in a competitive 18-team field in the season’s first tournament, which was held in Verona, N.Y.
How It Happened
- Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) didn’t take long to lead his team for the first time in his career, as he finished the tournament with a 223 (+7), the best score on the squad and tied for 25th overall. The freshman carded a 75 to close out the tournament.
- Toman wasn’t the only Valpo rookie to earn attention on Monday, as Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) stroked a 71 (-1), the best Round 3 score on the team. He finished the event at 231 (+15), part of a tie for 57th that also included Valpo sophomore Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern). Alexander went an even par in the third round.
- Sophomore Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian) posted a 76 on Monday to finish at t-27. His 54-hole score of 224 (+8) was second on the team.
- Senior Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) compiled a 227 (+11), tying for 42nd.
- As a team, Valpo was just two strokes behind sixth-place Delaware, while edging Wright State by four strokes for seventh. Host Missouri (-16) won the tournament, while Boston College’s Christian Cavaliere (-10) was the individual medalist.
Inside the Round
- Valpo’s Round 3 score of 294 tied for fourth among all 18 participating squads.
- With 46 birdies in the tournament, Valpo finished second to only Missouri (60) in that area. Valpo supplemented its noteworthy Day 1 birdie total with 14 more on Monday.
- Willis and Alexander had four birdies apiece in Round 3, while Wittmann and Seward shared the team lead in birdies for the tournament with 12 apiece.
- Par 4 holes were a strength on Monday, as Valpo’s 4.12 average (+6) on those holes was second among all participants.
Inside the Round
"The entire team made some good adjustments in our final round with our club selection off the tee. In the first two rounds, we were forcing some shots into some poor areas and not putting ourselves in better position from the fairway to hit the greens in regulation. Both Garrett and Drew really made some good adjustments with that in the final round, and it was indicative in their scores."
"We didn't have the quick start we wanted to the third round and we had some struggles in holes 15-18. The guys stayed focused with six holes remaining and finished with seven birdies over that stretch. I was very pleased with that strong finish and the team showed a lot of confidence and perseverance closing the round."
"It was exciting to see all five of our players have at least one round of par or better, especially for the first tournament of the year and on a course that we had never played before this weekend. If one of the guys was having a more difficult day, the other four were picking him up. Two of our freshmen and two sophomores led the team scoring in the third round."
Valpo will be back in action on Sunday, Sept. 9 to play the first 18 holes of the three-day Golfweek Program Challenge in Pawleys Island, S.C.