Over the summer, two Bradley men’s golfers, juniors Josh Kirkham and Roy Radke, played in the Northern Amateur, a well-known amateur tournament in Indiana on July 21-23 and had quite the showing.
The prestigious tournament, which is run by the Northwest Indiana Junior Golf Association, was held at Sand Creek Country Club, the home course of Valparaiso University.
Radke started out hot with a three-under-par 69 on the first day. He followed that up with rounds of 76 and 74, leading to a tie for 11th place at three-over-par.
“It’s a great tournament with great competition and I was glad that my game was heading in the right direction going into the week,” Radke said.
Radke said it was one hole that really took him out of medalist contention for the week.
“I was playing really well, I had a couple birdies on the front nine and I even made an eagle on hole 10, but I ended up making a seven on a par-3 on the back,” the junior said. “It was really tough to come back after that.”
The tournament proved to be a learning experience for Radke, especially off the tee.
“I really learned that week, at times I need to be more conservative with my tee shots,” Radke said. “When my driver is not playing how I want, I learned to take irons and other woods off the tee to position myself better. I try to take away something from every tournament and it is to be more conservative when I need to. I feel that can really help me going into this season.”
Kirkham played himself into a top five spot and recognition in an article for the Amateur Golf publication for the tournament.
“The course fits my game very well,” Kirkham said. “It is a course I am familiar with and I had a few good weeks prior, to where everything was in a good spot that week.”
Kirkham fired a one-over-par 73 in the first round of the tournament, followed by a one-under-par 71 in the second round. Kirkham’s best round came on the final day with a three-under-par 69.
“The first round was one of the worst ball striking rounds I remember in a while, but in the second and third rounds, my wedges really led the way,” Kirkham said. “When my wedges are dialed in, I feel I can compete with anyone.”
Joe Weiler of West Lafayette, Indiana, won the tournament at 11-under-par. Noah Gillard, a former University of Illinois golfer, who transferred to Indiana, finished second.
“Placing fifth was a huge confidence boost for me going into the season,” Kirkham said. “Coach Roche and I talked about how when things get tough, you have to stay committed to the process and how golf is the long game. I feel that week, I really stayed true to that process and was able to finish strong.”
Both Kirkham and Radke played in the tournament this last week at Valparaiso held at Sand Creek. Kirkham finished tied for 12th, and Radke finished tied for 34th. The Braves finished seventh as a team.