A former Fair Grove standout lived his dream of playing in his local PGA-sponsored golf tournament, his caddy who ‘Monday qualified’ found it challenging, too, and there’s a traffic jam atop the leaderboard.
Those were the opening day storylines of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper on Thursday at Highland Springs Country Club.
While 48 of the top 50 money winners on the Korn Ferry Tour arrived here this week, many eyes were on Brock Derrick. He’s a former Fair Grove High School state qualifier who also played at Evangel University before turning pro two years ago.
Unfortunately, his turn through the PCCC – a tournament he attended yearly – didn’t have the results he had hoped for.
Derrick saved par on No. 1, but then had a challenging time as he triple-bogeyed the next two holes, double-bogeyed No. 4, and bogeyed the next two.
He finished 12-over-par 84. He birdied Nos. 9 and 10.
Meanwhile, the same group included Griffen Locke, a 2013 Joplin High School graduate who was supposed to caddy for Derrick. Instead, Locke qualified for the PCCC by playing in the Monday qualifier at Millwood Golf & Racquet Club.
Locke delivered nine of the first 15 holes, and had two birdies. However, he also double-bogeyed and bogeyed three times. He is at 4-over par.
Meanwhile, Kevin Yu fired a 7-under par 65 to earn the title of morning round leader, with six others tied at 6-under: Robby Shelton, Kevin Roy, Sam Saunders, Kyle Reifers and Tyson Alexander.
Yu graduated last year from Arizona State University. The Chinese Taipei native tied for third at the Wichita Open last month and, on Thursday, had seven birdies and avoided a bogey.
Shelton, 26, played at the University of Alabama and turned pro in 2016. He tied for 21st and tied for 23rd in the past two tournaments.
Roy finished second at the Wichita Open in June, and tied for 10th at the Ascendant on July 3. He tied for fourth at The Bahamas in January, and was sixth at the Advent Health Championship on May 22.
Saunders, 34, has numerous cuts this year, and tied for sixth at the Huntsville (Ala.) Championship on May 1.
Reifers, 38, made the cut in six consecutive tournaments before withdrawing last week in Springfield, Ill.
Alexander, 34, is a 2010 graduate of the University of Florida. He won the Veritex Bank Championship in April and tied for fourth at the Wichita Open in June.
Golfers will start on tees No. 1 and No. 10 on Saturday and Sunday in hopes of finishing by 3 p.m. both days. The change is in response the hot weather that has spread across the region.
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.