Set Number: X163665 TK4
One of the greatest potential underdog stories in sports history did not come to fruition Monday.
John Eckert, who entered a local US Open qualifier in Kansas City as punishment for finishing last in his fantasy football league, shot a 40-over 112 and ended dead last again.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach caught up with Eckert, who said he typically shoots in the low 90s and that he “had some momentum going into the qualifier, so the spirits were high.”
That momentum immediately crashed and burned after he started with a triple bogey on the 10th hole. Eckert proceeded to shoot a 22-over 58 on the back nine.
The front nine started out poorly, with Eckert shooting 13-over on the first four holes. But he caught fire down the stretch with pars on the fifth, seventh and ninth holes.
“I’m pretty happy with the four pars, for sure,” Eckert told Schlabach. “The walking got to me. I’m more of a cart guy myself.”
Eckert had to be a bit surreptitious on his registration form to even get into the tournament. Schlabach had more information on that front:
“Todd Stice, director of rules and competitions for Central Links Golf in Kansas City, which staged the US Open qualifier, said Eckert was able to enter the tournament because he had designated himself as a professional player on his registration form. Only amateurs are subject to USGA rules that require a 1.4 handicap or lower to play in the US Open qualifiers.”
The day might not have gone as well as Eckert may have hoped, and it’s unfortunate that his best form didn’t come until the end of his round. But the 26-year-old deserves credit for honoring the bet and finishing all 18 holes.
He might not have won on the golf leaderboard or in fantasy football, but his resolve to complete the task at hand was noble.