PEORIA, Ill. — Bradley Men’s Golf returns to a familiar setting with the Braves making their near-annual trip to Madison, Ill., for the Derek Dolenc Invitational, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at the par-71 Gateway National Golf Links.
Participating in the Derek Dolenc Invite for the eighth straight time the event has been held, Bradley will be playing in the tournament for the 10th time in a 12-year stretch that started with the 2011-12 season.
This year’s event will feature 16 teams with Missouri Valley Conference rivals Missouri State, Murray State and Southern Illinois joining Bradley in a field that also includes Eastern Illinois, Green Bay, Idaho, Lindenwood, New Orleans, Omaha, Samford, tournament-host SIU Edwardsville , Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Indiana, UT Martin and Weber State.
Action begins Monday with an 8:15 am shotgun start to the opening two rounds, while Tuesday’s final round will also feature an 8:15 am shotgun start.
Bradley has opened the season strong with the Braves tying for fifth in the 15-team field at the season-opening Wildcat Invitational and following it with a sixth-place showing in the 17-team field at the Valpo Fall Invite earlier this week. After posting seven sub-300 rounds during the 2021-22 season, the Braves have been under 300 in five of six rounds to date this fall, which includes a season-best 291 in the final round of the Valpo Fall Invite Tuesday.
Senior Josh Kirkham has been leading the charge for the Braves, firing a 75 or better in all six rounds and boasting a team-best 71.00 stroke average. Kirkham has a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit already this season after taking fourth at Valpo with a four-under 212 for the lowest 54-hole score of his career. Kirkham, who has two rounds in the 60’s already this fall, tied for 11th at last year’s Derek Dolenc Invite and owns a 74.00 career stroke average in six career rounds at Gateway National.
Fellow Senior Roy Radke closed out last year’s Derek Dolenc Invite with a 71 and tied for 45th overalls. He has posted a 75.67 stroke average on the young season, finishing out the Valpo Fall Invite with rounds of 73 and 72 to finish one shot out of the top 20 in the field.
Freshman Connor Hamm has also been solid, owning a 75.17 stroke average through his first two collegiate tournaments. Hamm’s low round of the year came in his first round as a Brave as he carded a one-under 71 to open the Wildcat Invitational earlier this month.
Transfer Luke Armbrust has also had a big impact on the Bradley lineup with the Illinois transfer fourth on the squad with a 75.83 stroke average. Armbrust has shot 75 or better in three of his six rounds this season.
Senior John Stillman rounds out the Bradley lineup and will be playing in his third Derek Dolenc Invitational. The low round of his freshman season (73) came in the second round of the 2019-20 event.
Bradley follows up the Derek Dolenc Invitational with a trip to Jonesboro, Ark., Oct. 10 & 11 for the Bubba Barnett Intercollegiate.