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The Forecaddie isn’t afraid to admit that he has hit a ball or three out of bounds in his day. He even salutes them on their wayward flights with a loud “Oscar Bravo!”
But he never has hit a ball OB on the first playoff hole to determine a championship. And he never has done it intentionally, either.
That’s what Grant Whybark, a sophomore at St. Francis University in Joliet, Ill., did on the first playoff hole in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship at Heritage Bluffs Golf Club. And frankly, it’s one of the classiest moves The Man Out Front ever has witnessed.
The skinny: The winning team and individual from the conference championship advance to the NAIA national championship May 18-21 at TPC at Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. St. Francis captured the team title in the 36-hole event, meaning Whybark and his four teammates already had their tickets. Whybark also tied for the individual crown with Seth Doran of Olivet Nazarene, meaning a playoff was in order.
On the first playoff hole, Whybark was informed the winner would garner the conference’s individual spot for nationals. He already was going.
“We all know Seth very well,” Whybark explains, “and he not only is a very good player, but a great person as well. He’s a senior and had never been to nationals. Somehow, it just wasn’t in my heart to try to knock him out.”
What did Whybark do? He addressed his ball, aimed right, and proceeded to hit his tee shot 40 yards askew of the fairway onto the practice range, which was out of bounds. He would make double bogey; Doran made par and is headed to nationals.
“I think some people were surprised,” Whybark tells The Forecaddie, “but my team knew what I was doing and were supportive of me. I felt Seth deserved to go (to nationals) just as much as I did.
“It was one of those things where I couldn’t feel good taking something from him like this. My goal from the start was to get (to nationals) with my team. I had already done that.”
Even on the smallest stage, it’s good to know the gentleman’s game is alive and well.