'It just went sour very fast': Player arrested after fight at Korn Ferry Tour qualifier

·3 min read

A fight Monday during a Korn Ferry Tour qualifier in Newton, Kansas, resulted in one player being arrested.

According to the Newton Police Department, Luke Smith of Covington, Tennessee, was booked into the Harvey County Detention Center on one count of misdemeanor battery after police say the 20-year-old Smith, who plays college golf at Tennessee-Martin, punched and tackled another competitor in his group during their qualifying round for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Wichita Open at Sand Creek Station Golf Course.

“An argument began when the suspect and his father/caddie refused to help the victim look for an errant golf ball in the rough,” a police spokesperson wrote on the department’s official Facebook page. “The suspect then punched the victim in the face and tackled him to the ground. He held the victim down until he said ‘uncle,’ and then released him.”

News of the altercation was first reported by the Fire Pit Collective’s Ryan French, who also runs the Monday Q Info account on Twitter. Derek Fribbs, the third player in the threesome, told French that the fight started after the group completed the seventh hole. Fribbs said the victim, Austen Dailey, 31, confronted Smith and his caddie, Smith’s father Oliver Smith, for the two not helping look for several errant shots or helping with flagsticks. Oliver Smith then apparently said to Dailey that his son “wasn’t here to look for balls.”

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Dailey, while speaking on Barstool Sports’ Fore Play Podcast, confirmed Fribbs' account and admitted that he himself was “running hot … a mixture of not playing great and just agitated” when the dad starting screaming at him. Dailey and Oliver Smith then traded expletives before they stopped and Dailey headed to the eighth tee.

That’s when things got physical, with Luke Smith sucker-punching Dailey in the side of the head, knocking Dailey over. Luke Smith then jumped on Dailey and put him in a headlock, while Oliver Smith reportedly used a club to keep Fribbs and others from breaking up the fight.

“At one point, I just basically just stopped fighting back and was telling him, ‘Dude, get off me. This is stupid. You have no idea what you’re doing, you just ruined your entire career,’” Dailey said.

Dailey said he hit his tee shot on the eighth hole before tournament officials arrived in golf carts and took Dailey and the Smiths, in separate carts, back to the clubhouse, where police met them. Luke Smith was later placed in handcuffs and taken to jail.

“He’s a young college kid out trying to play with the professionals,” Dailey said, “and it just went sour very fast.”

Luke Smith is no longer listed on Tennessee-Martin’s online roster, while the Korn Ferry Tour said in a statement, “We are in the process of gathering more details and have no further comment at this time.”