Austin Eckroat, as expected, had some butterflies on the first tee at the 2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN. The Oklahoma State senior was one of two amateurs in the event through a sponsor’s invite and his only previous PGA TOUR start was the U.S. Open in 2019.
“I was really nervous on the first tee but my caddie (Stone Coburn) was more nervous, so that was calming to me,” Eckroat said. “I necked the drive in the fairway, way up the heel, but it went straight. I was telling Stone, I just need to get a couple good swings in me, and I’ll be good.”
He hit a 6-iron to 8 feet on his first hole, and though he missed the birdie putt, he said, “I was pretty much calm for the rest of the event.” He made the cut after back-to-back rounds of 69, and he got to 9-under after a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie stretch early on Saturday.
And that’s when it hit him.
“I looked up at the scoreboard and it said T2,” Eckroat said. “I was like, oh my God. Holy sh*t! I have a legitimate chance of winning this event.”
Eckroat did not win the tournament, but his former teammate and current roommate, Viktor Hovland, did. He is also great friends with another former Cowboy and PGA TOUR winner, Matthew Wolff. Wolff advised Eckroat that the competition on the PGA TOUR is very similar to college golf, and if you feel like you’re playing well enough to win or be in contention, then you’ll be in contention.
“I was super impressed with him. To put four rounds together as an amateur, that’s really impressive because most amateur events are only three rounds,” Wolff said. “He made the cut pretty easily so that was really nice. From there he kind of just kept the pedal down.”
With his family in attendance in Mexico, Eckroat made his first PGA TOUR cut and finished a remarkable T12 in the event.