Broce qualifies for Nationals, Blazers take 6th at Region 24 Tournament


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Vincennes University Golf team closed out the 2024 Region 24 tournament Tuesday at Weibring Golf Course in Bloomington, Ill.

The two-day, 54-hole tournament got off to a rocky start, with the opening round Monday being delayed by rain and moving the second round of the tournament to be played on Tuesday.

VU freshman Alex Nealis (Olney, Ill.) got off to a great start to the tournament Monday in the opening round, shooting a first round two-over 73 to leave him in a tie for ninth place after the first day.

Sophomore Preston Broce (Indianapolis, Ind.) was the second Trailblazer on the leaderboard, shooting a 77 on Monday, placing him in 21st place overall.

Freshman Andy Clark and sophomore Aaron Brink (Nashville, Ill.) rounded out the VU opening round scorers with Clark shooting an 83 and Brink coming in with a first round 86.

The Blazers returned to Weibring Tuesday morning for the final two rounds of this tournament and had an excellent start to the day, led by Broce who came through with a tournament low four-under 67 in his second round.

Alex Nealis and Andy Clark each shot a 75 in their second rounds of the tournament and Aaron Brink took seven shots off of his first round score to shoot a 79, giving the Blazers a team total for the round of 296.

Looking to further move up the leaderboard and claim one of two individual National qualifier spots, Broce continued his excellent Tuesday on the course by closing out the tournament with an even par 71.

Brink continued to take shots off of his previous rounds as well, closing out his tournament with a 76, while Nealis ended with a 77 and Clark posted an 84 in the final round.

The Trailblazers as a team finished the tournament with a team score of 923, placing them sixth as a team and missing out on the three team qualifying spots available.

Parkland College, Illinois Central College and Danville Area Community College came away with the team qualifiers for Region 24 for the National Tournament, with VU just three shots out of fifth place and 17 shots back of Danville for third.

The individual qualifier spots would be claimed by the top two finishers not on the qualifying teams, which would go to VU sophomore Preston Broce, with a tournament score of 215, just two over par in his three rounds.

The final qualifying spot would be claimed by Sam Rink of Heartland Community College.

Broce finished the tournament fourth on the individual leaderboard, earning him All-Region honors as well as qualifying for the 2024 NJCAA Division II National Championship tournament at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club in Joplin, Mo.

“We had a good tournament,” VU Hall of Fame Golf Coach Dennis Chattin said. “The second round team score of 296 was our season low. Preston finishing fourth in the tournament was very impressive. His four-under par second round is really good and was the low round of the tournament.”

“Preston was also named to the All-Region team and qualified as an individual for the National tournament,” Chattin added. “I hate this time of the season, as my guys are just maturing as players and we lose our second year guys. It is just too fast.”

“Preston will be going on to play Division I golf next year at IU Indy,” Chattin said. “I think he is a strong player and will do well at the National tournament in Joplin.”

The four-day tournament will begin on Tuesday, May 21 and run through Friday, May 24.