Tony Romo is the most notable name competing in the Veritex Bank Championship this week at Texas Rangers Golf Club.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS Sports analyst will be making his second Korn Ferry Tour start and looking to fare better than in his previous PGA Tour-sanctioned starts. Romo has missed the cut in all four of the PGA Tour events he’s played, and withdrew from his KFT debut at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper last summer with a wrist injury.
While Romo generates buzz for the event, he’s a long shot to contend. Who isn’t? TCU product Paul Barjon.
Barjon is in position to “graduate” from the minor leagues to the big leagues next season. He is No. 15 on the Korn Ferry Tour points list and the top 25 at the end of the season earn their PGA Tour card for 2022.
“My game is there, I just need to be more consistent,” said Barjon, a Fort Worth resident who plays out of Mira Vista and Shady Oaks. “For me, it’s all about getting in a groove and start shooting these low scores under par every round.”
Maybe Barjon will find that rhythm this week as he’s able to sleep in his own bed and is at a familiar course.
Barjon has played Rangers Golf Club a handful of times, dating to last year when the venue was set to host this event before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barjon likes the course, which was designed by John Colligan. It’s a par-71, 6,987-yard track.
“It’s a good design. I never played the old course [Ditto],” Barjon said. “I heard it changed quite a bit, but it’s a good design. It’s in very good shape from tee to green. I’m excited to play a home tournament.”
Barjon is scheduled to tee off No. 10 at 12:15 p.m. Thursday with playing partners Trey Mullinax and Steve Marino. The group is the first off No. 1 on Friday at 7:15 a.m.
For Barjon, it’s another tournament in hopes of securing his PGA Tour card. Barjon would’ve earned his card last season with a breakout year on the KFT, but the PGA Tour adjusted its rules amid the pandemic.
Essentially, the PGA Tour turned the KFT into a two-year season. The wraparound year allowed the PGA Tour to protect players on the regular tour who may have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
As frustrating as that has been, Barjon looks at it in a positive light. He landed a spot in last year’s U.S. Open by playing well on the KFT and at least has been able to play regularly compared to the lower-tiered Mackenzie Tour in Canada.
This year, he’s landed a couple starts in PGA Tour events at the Puerto Rico Open and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
“It was a great experience to play in the U.S. Open last year and a couple PGA Tour events this year with a made cut and a missed cut,” Barjon said. “It gives you an idea of what’s going on at the next level and what to expect.”
Romo’s tee time
Romo is scheduled to tee off No. 10 at 9:15 a.m. Thursday and No. 1 at 2:15 p.m. Friday. Romo is paired with Canadian Jared du Toit and Sean Jacklin of Scotland.
As far as he’s concerned, a player such as Barjon likes to see a star of Romo’s status in the field.
“It’s good. Whatever helps grow the game and brings in more players and fans, I’m all for,” Barjon said. “We all want the PGA Tour to become bigger and bring in more fans.”
Barjon isn’t the only TCU player in this week’s field. Robby Ormand is another former Frog playing this week.
Other players who competed collegiately in the state include Michael Arnaud (Stephen F. Austin), Zack Fischer (UT Arlington), Toni Hakula (Texas), Charlie Holland (Texas), Kyle Jones (Baylor), Mito Pereira (Texas Tech), Chandler Phillips (Texas A&M), Martin Piller (Texas A&M), Conrad Shindler (Texas A&M), Austin Smotherman (SMU), Dawie van der Walt (Lamar) and Greg Yates (Texas A&M).
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