Valparaiso University finished in seventh place on Tuesday as the Crusaders wrapped up play in their first home golf tournament in program history, the Valpo Invitational, played at The Course at Aberdeen. The Crusaders shot 324 in the final round to finish at 644 for the tournament, just one stroke out of fifth place and four shots out of fourth.
“It was quite an experience hosting our first event,” head coach Mat Blair said. “It was great for the university and for exposure for our program. I really enjoyed it and want to thank the staff at Aberdeen for helping us put on such a great event.”
Butler won the team title at 612 (312-300), a 16-shot victory over Loyola (Chicago).
On a sunny, warm day which saw the course scoring average drop by more than 2.5 shots from the opening round, four Crusaders also bettered their opening round total.
Jessica O’Brien (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.), a junior, posted her collegiate best round of 80, and along with Michelle Kleckner (New Brighton, Minn./Irondale H.S.) who also shot 80, paced the Brown and Gold over the final 18 holes. Kleckner finished at 161 for the tournament while O’Brien shot 165.
Kelly Voigt (Palatine, Ill./Fremd H.S.) led the way for the Crusaders overall, shooting 159 to tie for 15th place individually. She carded a final round 83 over the 6,151-yard, par-72 layout.
Brianna Davy (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) and Erika Pfaender (Pewaukee, Wis./Arrowhead H.S.) both posted rounds of 82 on Tuesday. Davy finished tied with Kleckner for 22nd at 161 while Pfaender improved by two strokes from Monday and finished at 166.
A.J. Selig (Hortonville, Wis./Appleton West H.S.) added her second straight 85 playing as an individual while Kathleen Cooper (Hobart, Ind./Hobart H.S.) improved by 12 shots from round one and finished with a 94. Alyssa Cameron (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw H.S.) added a 96, one shot better than her first round.
“I’m very proud of our girls,” Blair added. We didn’t finish where we wanted to finish, but it was a great learning experience for us. I’m not surprised we fell back a bit, only because it was a new opportunity for us and a new situation. We have never played with the leading groups in the final round before, but that’s a tribute to the way we played yesterday. I’m sure we’ll learn from this and now we’ll be better prepared for the situation next time it arises.”
Butler’s Michele Nash won the individual title by four strokes over her teammate, Jenna Peter. Nash finished at one-over par 145 (72-73) while Peter shot the tournament’s low round on Tuesday, a two-under par 70.
Valparaiso will return to action next Monday and Tuesday at the Tennessee State Fall Classic. The event will begin at 8 a.m. CDT at Morningstar Golf Club in Indianapolis, Ind.