Broce Eagles Final Hole to Open with 74 at Valhalla
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Former Ball State men's golfer Jamie Broce opened with a round of 74 on Thursday at the PGA Championship, highlighted by an eagle on the closing hole at Valhalla Golf Club.
Broce, who earned his invitation to the tournament with a second-place finish at the PGA Professional National Championship in June, tied for the third-best score of the day among the 20 PGA club professionals in the field. He will tee off in the second round Friday at 1 p.m. on the 10th hole.
Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer share the lead at 6-under par after rounds of 65.
Broce, playing in his first career major championship, finished the tournament's opening round at 3 over par. That number alone, however, did not tell the story of his round.
The 1999 Ball State graduate, who now coaches the men's golf program at Toledo, recovered from a challenging start. He made double bogey from the greenside bunker at the first hole and another double after hitting his tee shot into a hazard on the second.
But he then settled in, finding the final seven greens in regulation on the front nine and picking up birdies at the fourth and the ninth to get it back to 2 over at the turn.
Broce's back nine was up and down with one birdie and four bogeys until his final hole of the day. He then blistered his drive down the middle of the 18th fairway, leaving him just a mid-iron into the par 5. He knocked that shot to 18 feet and rolled in the putt to put an exclamation point on his round.
Broce is the sixth former Cardinal to appear in a major since 1970, joining Denny Hepler (9 appearances), Brian Tennyson (9), Cary Hungate (6), Scott Steger (4) and Jeff Gallagher (1). He is the first Cardinal to play in a major since Hungate at the 2004 PGA Championship.
A Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame member, Broce was the Ben Hogan Award winner as the nation's top golf scholar-athlete in 1998, the program’s final season under former head coach Earl Yestingsmeier. In 1999, he was an All-American, the Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year and an NCAA Regional participant in the first year under head coach Mike Fleck.
Broce won six tournaments during his college career and still holds the school record with a 73.57 career stroke average. After graduation, he went on to play professionally through 2008, spending time on the Nationwide Tour (now Web.com Tour) and NGA Hooters Tour. He then spent four years as an assistant coach at Indiana University before taking over the Toledo program.