Tommy Kuhl had a whirlwind of emotions Monday in the span of a few hours.
The fifth-year senior at Illinois has been one of the best college golfers in the country this season, and he continued that play at Illini Country Club in Springfield, Illinois, at a U.S. Open local qualifier. On aerated greens, he shot a course-record 62 to easily lock up medalist honors and move on to final qualifying.
At least that is what he thought when his final putt dropped.
However, as Ryan French of Monday Q Info reported, Kuhl went back to watch some of his fellow Illini teammates finish their rounds. He was talking with Jackson Buchanan, and he mentioned how difficult it was to putt on the aerated greens. That’s when something clicked in Kuhl’s mind.
“I felt sick to my stomach,” Kuhl told French. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t tell the rules official.”
Kuhl had repaired aeration marks multiple times during his round, which isn’t allowed. Had a local rule been in place Monday, he would’ve been fine.
“I should know better. It comes down to me. I should know that rule.”
Kuhl immediately found a rules official, explaining what happened. Soon after, he was informed he had been disqualified.
Others who played in the local qualifier also admitted to fixing aeration marks, but none who advanced to the next stage.
For Kuhl, it cost him a chance to play in the U.S. Open. However, coming clean is something he should be commended for.
Kuhl and Illinois head to NCAA regional play next week as the top-seeded team in the East Lansing regional.