The Valparaiso University men’s golf team was once again paced by a pair of freshmen on the first day of the Zach Johnson Invitational hosted by Drake in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday. Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) led his team with a 150 (+8) through two rounds, while Charlie Toman (Chardon, Ohio / Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) followed closely with a 153 (+11).
How It Happened
- Willis started his day with a 77 in Round 1 before trimming four strokes off his score in the second round. He enters the second day of the event tied for 17th.
- Toman had the best round of the day by any Valpo player with a 72 in Round 1. With 18 holes remaining in the tournament, he is tied for 32nd.
- Sophomore Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) posted a pair of sub-80 rounds, carding a 75 in Round 1 before a 79 in Round 2. He finished the day tied for 36th with a 154 (+12).
- As a team, Valpo sits in ninth place in a 12-team field. The team is four strokes behind eighth-place Western Illinois and six strokes in back of seventh-place South Dakota. Valpo holds a four-stroke lead on Green Bay and is also ahead of UNI and Eastern Illinois.
- Entering Tuesday, Bradley leads the tournament with a 593 (+25), while Drake Bushong of the Braves leads the way individually at one stroke under par.
Inside the Rounds
- Valpo performed well on Par 5 holes with a 4.97 average (-1) that ranks fifth in the 12-team field.
- Valpo has racked up 17 birdies, tied for fifth among the 12 teams competing. Toman holds the Valpo lead with six birdies, tied for third in the event.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
“In the morning round, we had a terrific performance from Charlie and a solid round from Drew. The two of them combined for six birdies in Round 1 and played very consistently for us. We had two critical triple bogeys that took some momentum away and certainly affected our team score.”
“In the afternoon round, we had a good start and we played some of the critical holes that were about half way through our round well. We struggled to close the round and we did not play smart golf in the last three to four holes.”
“The conditions were challenging for us today, playing in the rain for pretty much the entire 36 holes. On the other hand, all of the other teams played in the same conditions, so we need to be better in overcoming the elements. The 36 holes today were disappointing from a team score standpoint. We have now played the course for three rounds, so tomorrow I expect the guys to play a lot stronger and with a passion to improve.”
Day 2 of the Zach Johnson Invitational, hosted by Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, will take place on Tuesday featuring the third and final round. Live scoring will be available via BirdieFire.