Errant tee shot leads to fight and arrest during Wichita Open golf qualifier in Newton


Two golfers got into a fight that ended with one arrest during a Monday qualifying round for this week’s Wichita Open at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton.

Newton Police Department records show that Luke Smith, 20, was booked on Monday afternoon on suspicion of misdemeanor battery for “causing rude physical contact.” The official results from Monday’s Korn Ferry Tour qualifier show Smith, who is a junior-to-be on the Tennessee-Martin men’s golf team, was disqualified from the tournament.

The fight attracted national attention after a golf blog, The Firepit Collective, first reported the story.

According to the blog, which spoke with a member of the playing group and also cited an anonymous source, Smith allegedly attacked one of his playing partners after a verbal confrontation. Smith’s father, Oliver, his caddie, was accused of using his son’s putter to prevent the third golfer in the group from breaking up the fight.

The Eagle contacted the South Central PGA Section, which organized the Monday qualifiers, for comment on Monday evening, but did not receive a response. Attempts to reach the Newton Police Department and Sand Creek Station pro shop were also unsuccessful on Monday evening.

The Korn Ferry Tour released a brief statement about the incident on Monday evening to Golfweek, which cited a source confirming the details of The Firepit Collective’s reporting.

“The Korn Ferry Tour is aware of the incident that occurred at today’s qualifier in Newton, Kansas,” the statement read. “The individuals involved are not current Korn Ferry Tour members. We are in the process of gathering more details and have no further comment at this time.”

The third golfer, Derek Fribbs, told The Firepit Collective that the group was playing at a slow pace and the fight started after Austen Dailey, a 31-year-old professional golfer, shanked his tee shot on the par-3 No. 7 hole. Fribbs helped to look for the ball, but he said the Daileys didn’t and also wouldn’t replace the pin on each green.

Fribbs said Luke and Oliver Smith began yelling at Dailey about his quality of play and how it was slowing down the group. Fribbs told the blog that he was standing on No. 8 tee box when the fight broke out. Fribbs tried to intervene, but a PGA Section official told the blog that Oliver Smith grabbed his son’s putter and waved it at Fribbs to keep him from breaking up the fight.

The fight ended when the group playing behind them called the Sand Creek Station pro shop, according to the blog. While Dailey and Smith were driven back to the clubhouse, Fribbs, a former collegiate golfer at Colorado, finished his round on his own, shooting 7-over 79.

“It was crazy, I can’t believe it happened,” Fribbs told the blog.

The four qualifiers to the Wichita Open field from Sand Creek Station were Quade Cummins (65), Danny Guise (66), Derek Chang (66) and Luke Schniederjans (67), while the Auburn Hills qualifiers were Charlie Hillier (65), Gregor Main (66), Matt Oshrine (66) and Mason Overstreet (66).



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