Rain Gives Ekert Golfweek/AGT Victory, Costs VanArragon His Shot at Winning

April 4, 2024 | 3 min.

PAWLEY ISLAND, S.C. -- Cole Ekert birdied seven of the first 15 holes Tuesday at True Blue Golf Club on the way to a second-round 66 in the Golfweek/AGT Intercollegiate, and then got an assist from the weather when the third round was rained out Wednesday. As a result, the University of Richmond junior was able to claim the individual title with a 36-hole total of 136.

Caleb VanArragon, the Valparaiso grad student from Blaine who set all the available scoring records last summer while winning the Minnesota State Open (197, -13) and State Amateur (193, -23) by a combined 21 strokes, finished second, one shot behind at 137.

VanArragon led after a first-round 66, but he had a 71 on Tuesday, and Ekert edged ahead of him with his 66. The third round was started on Wednesday, and North Alabama's Eric Luo lit up the front nine at True Blue. He was 6 under for the round through 12 holes, which got him to 10 under for the tournament -- and into the lead by one over Ekert, who dropped into second when he bogeyed the 407-yard, par-4 12th -- and slipped back to 9 un. VanArragon bogeyed it, too, and he was two behind in third place at minus 8. 

Then the rain came. And it kept coming. Eventually, the round had to be cancelled, and scores reverted to where they were after 36 holes. 

That was unfortunate for VanArragon, who lost his chance to come from behind over the last six holes. But it was a worse break for Luo, a sophomore from Katy, Texas, who was remanded to a tie for sixth at 140.

Basically, Ekert won the tournament on the par 5s Tuesday. He birdied all four of them. VanArragon, on the other hand, birdied only one, the 548-yard ninth. Neverthless, he was able to birdie three of the last four holes on the front nine (6, 8 and 9), and he and Ekert were tied after 14 holes. Ekert pulled ahead with a birdie at the 602-yard 15th, and VanArragon slipped two back when he bogeyed the par-3 16th (204 yards). VanArragon cut the deficit in half with a birdie at the par-4 17th (449), but he remained one behind when both he and Ekert bogeyed the 435-yard, par-4 18th.

 In the process of winning the individual crown, Ekert helped propel Richmond to the team title. VanArragon and Valparaiso led the Spiders by 12 after the first day with a combined 276 (minus 12), but Richmond beat Valpo by 13 on Day 2 with a 282, and finished one ahead of both Valparaiso and Long Island in the team standings with a two-day aggregate of 570. Luo's North Alabama team probably would have won if the third round had been completed. Instead, the Lions ended up in fourth, two behind Richmond at 572. 

Golfweek/AGT Intercollegiate

At True Blue Golf Club

Par 72, 6,949 yards

Pawley Island, S.C. 

Final results 

1. Richmond                       288-282--570

T2. Long Island                   290-291--571

T2. Valparaiso                    276-295--571

4. North Alabama               283-289--572

T5. Austin Peay State       291-285--576

T5. Connecticutt                293-283--576

T7. Marshall                      295-283--578

T7. Kansas City                281-297--578

T14. Denver                     289-296--585


1. Cole Ekert, Richmond           70-66--136

2. Caleb VanArraton Valpo     66-71--137

3. J.F. Schollert, Austin Peay   70-68--138

T4. Dain Richie, So. Illinois     70-69--139

T4. Daniel Cheng, J. Madison 69-70--139

T48. Brady Arnett, Denver    72-75--147

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