2021 Oklahoma State grad among PCCC’s leaders

Courtesy of PGA TOUR Images

An Oklahoma State alum is hoping to make history in the same town his cousin did recently just up Highland Springs Boulevard at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

In fact, Sunday could be one of the most exciting in the history of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, considering the logjam atop the leaderboard.

Nine are within five strokes of the leader, David Koche (22-under par 194), at Highland Springs Country Club here in Springfield.

Among them is Austin Eckroat, a 2021 Oklahoma State University graduate whose cousin, Trevor Vance, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in May for his quarter-century of work as the groundskeeper of the Kansas City Royals.

“He’s always given us tickets to some baseball games. He’s a good guy,” Eckroat said. “I saw that he was inducted. And (winning Sunday) would be pretty cool – a good story, a good year for us.”

Eckroat has carded a three-day score of 67-66-66 199 and is five strokes back at 17-under par.

This for a 23-year-old who has had three top-18 finishes the past three tournaments, including a solo runner-up last week in Springfield, Ill.

It helps to have family in from Edmond, Okla., and he’s playing for the first time in the Ozarks.

“The process of going to Oklahoma State put me in the right path to have success out here,” Eckroat said.

Others lurking are Robby Shelton, Kevin Roy, Taylor Montgomery, Augusto Nunez, Sam Saunders, Matt McCarty and Justin Suh. Poplar Bluff’s Carr Vernon, invited here on an unrestricted exemption, made the cut Friday. See the leaderboard here. Click here for the full leaderboard.

Sunday’s round will begin at 7:30 AM as golfers start on the No. 1 and No. 10 tee boxes. The new start was prompted by a forecast that shows the potential for thunderstorms after 3 p.m.

Poplar Bluff’s entry

Meanwhile, Poplar Bluff’s Carr Vernon – playing on an unrestricted exemption – is at 9-under par 207 after carding a 3-under par 69 on Saturday.

He eagled the 18th hole, which is a par 5, after double-bogeying No. 17. His round included six birdies, but also three bogeys.

Raffles

The tournament is benefitting more than 50 Ozarks children’s charities this year, and there are two raffles that will be drawn on Sunday after play ends on the 18th green.

The TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes is a $25 ticket, with the grand prizes being a 2022 Toyota Tacoma and $10,000.

The other is a Getaway to Paradise, for a seven-night stay, for up to 12, at a home in Manzanillo, Mexico. It include six ocean-facing suites, as well as your personal chef and laundry service. It is $100 a ticket.