Shad Tuten’s Costly Mistake at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship
Shad Tuten, a 31-year-old golfer, was on the verge of securing his PGA Tour card for the first time at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. Despite a closing bogey on Sunday, Tuten was projected to finish within the top 30 in points, which would grant him a promotion to the big tour. However, a small but significant error dashed his hopes.
Upon arriving in the scoring area, Tuten was informed by a rules official that he had improperly applied the lift-clean-and-place rule on the 15th fairway. In his attempt to improve his lie by lifting, cleaning, and placing the ball, Tuten had failed to follow the correct procedure. After the initial placement, when the ball rolled forward, he should have tried to re-place it on the exact spot as before. If it moved again, he would then be allowed to place it at a near-point. Tuten had skipped this crucial second step, leading to a two-shot penalty.
The penalty turned Tuten’s potential par on the par-5 hole into a bogey, resulting in a 4-over 76 for his round. This dropped him to T-28 on the leaderboard and ultimately pushed him out of the top 30 in points, with a final position of No. 32. As a result, Tuten’s dream of playing in a PGA Tour event still eluded him.
The unfortunate turn of events for Tuten created an opportunity for Rafa Campos. Campos, who had missed a short putt earlier in the day, ended up clinching the No. 30 spot in points. It was a nerve-wracking wait for Campos, who had started the week at No. 23.
Reflecting on the situation, Campos described it as “horrible” and expressed his relief at finishing in his current position. He had previously played as a rookie on the PGA Tour in the 2020-21 season and was eager to regain his spot on the tour.
While Tuten’s mishap stole the spotlight, there were other notable performances at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. Paul Barjon emerged as the event’s winner at Victoria National, making a significant leap from No. 45 to eighth in points. Mac Meissner, Wilson Furr, Josh Teater, and Roger Sloan also managed to secure their positions inside the top 30 through their strong performances throughout the week.
Furr showcased his resilience by rallying for par from an adjacent fairway on the 18th hole. Teater closed strong by playing his last five holes in 1 under par. Sloan sealed his spot by sinking a clutch 12-foot putt for par on his final hole.
As the Korn Ferry Tour Championship came to a close, Shad Tuten’s inadvertent violation of the rules proved to be a costly mistake. However, for Rafa Campos and the other golfers who secured their PGA Tour cards, it was a moment of triumph and a significant step forward in their careers. This tournament once again emphasized the fine margins and high stakes that come into play in the world of professional golf.