Led by an inspiring performance from junior Roy Radke, the Bradley men’s golf team had a promising start but finished in eighth at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship tournament from April 24-26.
At the Country Club of Paducah in Kentucky, the Braves were led by Radke and fellow junior Josh Kirkham early on, who both fired first-round 74’s, but the Braves slipped down the leaderboard in the ensuing 36 holes.
At two-over-par, the juniors were three shots off the lead for individuals heading into round two and the Braves totaled 307 in round one, with graduate Aaeri Krishnan adding a 79 and junior John Stillman carding a first-round 80.
Head coach Jeff Roche was pleased with how the Braves began the tournament.
“Round one was a great way to get the tournament started,” Roche said. “Josh and Roy played great. The weather was a factor and the other guys really battled.”
After 36 holes of play, Kirkham led the Braves and was inside the top 10 heading into the final day after matching his first round score of 74. Radke shot a three-over-par 75 in the second round, just one shot behind his teammate.
Sophomore Brady Kreiter replaced Krishnan in Monday’s round due to an injury, posting an 81 in the second round. Junior Nick Armburst beat his Sunday score by two shots with an 83 in the second round. Stillman rounded out the scores for the Braves with a second round 85.
Heading into the final round, the Braves sat in seventh place, trailing the leaders by a large deficit.
Radke continued his noteworthy tournament with another three-over 75 in the final round, finishing in a tie for 10th, the second top-10 finish of his career.
“This week will give me more confidence going into this summer and next year knowing that I can have a chance of winning every week,” Radke said.
Kirkham finished the tournament in a tie for 14th after a final-round 77. The junior held the team’s best round average this season of 74.07.
“From an individual standpoint, it is nice to see that my hard work is paying off,” Kirkham said. “I know the guys on the team are hungry to be in contention, so I’m more excited for everyone to keep improving and make a name for Bradley men’s golf with some key additions next year.”
Stillman scored his best round of the week with a final-round 79. After replacing Krishnan, Kreiter fired a second straight round of 81 to finish his week. Armburst finalized the scoring for Bradley with an 87 in his final round.
After a final round score of 312, Bradley fell into eighth place with a three-round total of 932, sitting only ahead of last-place Northern Iowa.
Despite the poor performance, Roche is looking forward to the offseason of what he felt was a promising spring season.
“We have seen a big improvement from the start of last fall to this tournament,” Roche said. “There are still a number of things to keep working on, but we are definitely excited for the progress and the addition of some new players next fall [who] will create great competitiveness throughout the team.”