ALEDO -- Tony Romo failed to make it through local qualifying for this year's U.S. Open on Monday afternoon.
He finished with a 3-over-par 75 on a breezy day at Split Rail Links & Golf Club, but he certainly gained the appreciation of his fellow golfers. He was paired with David Lutterus, a Fort Worth resident who has played 48 PGA Tour events.
"As a pro you can see who can really hit the ball and who can't, and he strikes it," said Lutterus, who shot a 3-under 69 and earned the second alternate spot in a playoff.
"If he wanted to [become a pro], there's no question about it -- I think he could make it. You know what he's got? He's got the mind. We're going down the 13th hole and he said something about two par-5s and eagling this and do that. I'm thinking, 'Whatever.' And then he goes and eagles the next hole. I'm like, 'That's the way you've got to think, right? So that was pretty cool. That taught me something. That's how the best think."
Edward Loar of Rockwall posted the low round of the day, a 6-under 66. Frisco's Derek Ernst, San Antonio's Arnie Martinez, Flint's Stetson McMillan and Frenchman Cyril Bouniol each shot 67. Garland's Chris Brown earned the sixth spot with a 4-under 68, and Plano's Joseph Abella won the playoff for the seventh spot.
Romo showed flashes of having his golf game in good enough shape to make a realistic run for a spot in the U.S. Open, which is being held in his home state of Wisconsin for the first time. The tournament is scheduled for June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.
As a pro you can see who can really hit the ball and who can't, and he strikes it. If he wanted to [become a pro], there's no question about it -- I think he could make it. You know what he's got? He's got the mind.
"It was fun to be back out competing," said Romo, who shot a 3-over 39 on the front nine and an even-par 36 on the back. "It's been awhile since I felt the feeling of a competitive aspect in the golf world.
"There's some good signs. I hit the ball pretty well today. Obviously had the big mistake on the one hole  ... other than that, I played pretty well."
Romo energized himself and a crowd of about 200 with an impressive showing on the par-5 14th to get him back in it. He used a downwind to his advantage with a 370-plus yard drive and knocking a 6-iron from 225 yards to a couple feet for a tap-in eagle.
That pulled Romo to 1-over on the day, but things fell apart on the next hole. Romo sprayed his drive right into the water on the par-4 15th and three-putted for a triple-bogey seven. It was his fourth three-putt on the day to go along with missed birdie chances from within 10 feet on Nos. 1, 12 and 13.
Romo lost any hope of advancing after the dreadful 15th, but finished strong with a birdie on the par-5 18th. He had a nifty third shot in which he punched his ball under a tree and then drained about a 10-footer.
Asked if golf could fill the competitive void he lost when he walked away from football and headed to the CBS Sports broadcast booth, Romo said: "It's different. Competition in itself I enjoy and, for me, just improving and looking at something to get better at. There's some good signs. I hit the ball pretty well today. Obviously had the big mistake on the one hole  ... other than that, I played pretty well.
"That's the same thing in broadcasting. I understand I'm coming in without any experience in that world. It's exciting, it's a little nerve-wracking, it's all these things in one. That's why you love to do things. You're coming into the unknown and something I have to get better at and I like a challenge. I know I'll probably stink for a while [in the broadcast booth]. Hopefully I'll continue to improve at that and hopefully get better and be good."
As far as competitive golf going forward, Romo could attempt to qualify for other USGA events such as the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur. He also mentioned the Western Amateur Championship.
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