WEST LAFAYETTE – Keegan McCullough got better in each round in his first event as a professional golfer.
The Greensburg native shot rounds of 74-73-72 at the Indiana Open, held July 12-14 at the Ackerman-Allen Course. He had to battle multiple weather delays and a cracked face on his driver.
“I couldn’t really get into much of a rhythm,” McCullough said. “My ball striking was really, really good. I couldn’t make any putts; I was burning a lot of edges. I was right on the fence of playing about 10 shots better than what I actually did.”
McCullough finished tied for 52nd overall, including 27th in the pro division. He shot +6 for the tournament.
Michael Davan of Zionsville won the event by two shots, shooting -17.
McCullough thought something might be wrong with his driver in the first round, but it wasn’t until he hit it way right on No. 14 that he looked at the face and saw it was cracked. The wayward drive went into a pond that normally wouldn’t be in play, leading to a double bogey.
He’s had the driver for less than a year, but the good news is Taylor Made is sending him a newer model.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever cracked a club or anything,” McCullough said. “I got it at the beginning of fall at the start of my senior year (at IUPUI), so really not that long ago. In high school and college I wasn’t hitting it nearly as hard as I am now, or it could’ve been a bad ball. It’s hard to figure out what happened.”
McCullough’s dad, David McCullough, was his caddie. They’re very similar and are super competitive, the son said, and can occasionally butt heads. But everything went great.
“He knows the right things to say,” McCullough said. “Obviously, he’s watched me play my whole life, so he knows how I play, whether it’s under pressure or things like that. He was a really big help, and I’m definitely glad he could do it. I’m sure it won’t be the last time.”
McCullough’s mom, Christine, was able to watch the first round before having to leave for Ohio for work.
David McCullough called it a thrill and honor to be able to carry the bag for his son.
“My approach to caddying was simple: be a caddie and not a dad. I think Keegan would agree that I accomplished that for the most part,” David McCullough said. “This will be a memory I will carry with me the rest of my life. We are super proud of his effort and results!”
McCullough is in the process of figuring out which mini tour events he’s going to play in before moving to Florida in September. As of this past weekend, he was considering going to Georgia, Iowa or South Carolina.
McCullough got approved to play in the last two events of the summer schedule of the West Florida Tour, including an event on Sept. 20.
“That means I’ll have a little less time to sit around and practice,” he said, “and I can get into the swing of things quicker.”
McCullough earned $400 in his first pro tournament, with the winner taking home $5,000. While he’ll undoubtedly be playing in tournaments for much bigger purses in the future, there will always be something special about playing his pro event in his home state.
“It was a good experience,” McCullough said. “I took a lot positives away from it. It was nice to make my first cut and make some money, so it was good.”