Return to Men’s Golf Course at Valpo Invitational – The Bradley Scout

Bradley’s golfer Roy Radke watches an iron swing. Photo courtesy of Bradley Athletics

After two days of competition at the Valpo Fall Invitational, Bradley’s men’s golf team took sixth place on a field of 17 teams.

Thanks to late-tournament heroics, the Braves continued their ascent into 2022 after struggling for most of the past three years.

Senior Josh Kirkham hit a 212 four under par, which was good enough for fourth place overall in the tournament. Improving his eighth-place mark from a week earlier, Kirkham has had a historic start to the season and head coach Jeff Roche definitely saw why in this tournament.

“He played very solid from start to finish,” Roche said.

Another veteran who came out big was Roy Radke. Reaching a season-best 72 in the final round, the Geneva, Illinois native finished just one stroke from the top 20 in 22nd.

“[Radke] played very well in the last two rounds,” Roche said. “Especially in the last round; [he] hit the pair.”

Radke’s strong effort helped him climb the individual standings as his last round resulted in an 11-place jump in the leaderboard. Graduate transfer Luke Armbrust also climbed 11 spots on the final day after a third round of 75.

The team’s lone freshman, Connor Hamm, was 32nd after a final round of 77. He started the tournament well, hitting 75s in the first two rounds.

It took some comeback effort to take home sixth place as the first round did not go in the Braves’ favor. After the first 18 holes, the Braves were in 10th place with a team score of 302, 14 over par. When talking about the team’s performance in the opening round, Roche knows that his team didn’t do as any of them wanted.

“I don’t think anyone was very happy with the way we played,” Roche said. “Being able to answer shows some character.”

It was a unique experience for the team as the second round played on Monday was suspended due to darkness. They couldn’t finish it and had to drill some holes the next day.

The team then had a downtime of 40 minutes, which also led to some uncertainty for Roche. However, the team quickly assured their coach that they would be fine as they jumped to fourth place in the Invitational at one point.

“We don’t panic; we just played golf at Bradley,” Roche said. “They struggled with good stretches of holes afterwards. It shows their character.”

Knowing that a few fewer shots would put them higher in Valparaíso, Roche knows his team can capitalize on that for the next tournament.

“Several bad holes; a lot of this is manageable stuff,” Roche said. “It will be the little things going forward that will decide whether we finish sixth, fourth or second.”

Finally, Roche outlined some keys to the team’s success the rest of the way.

“Being True to Ourselves [and] not doing more than necessary,” Roche said.

The team hits the links again next week at the Derek Dolenc Invitational of Southern Illinois Edwardsville on September 26 and 27.

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