A golfer trying to qualify for this week’s Wichita Open on the Korn Ferry Tour was arrested after allegedly assaulting another player during a qualifying tournament Monday.
According to Newton, Kansas police, Luke Smith of Covington, Tennessee slapped the victim in the face and grabbed the victim while qualifying at the Sand Creek Station golf course.
“He held the victim until he said ‘uncle’ and then released him,” Newton police said in a statement.
According to police, the dispute began when the suspect and his father, who served as his caddy, refused to help the victim find missed shots off-road.
Derek Fribbs, 30, was the third player in the group that included Smith and the victim whom Fribbs identified to ESPN as Austen Dailey. Fribbs told ESPN that Smith and his father did not help the other players find their lost balls, which resulted in the group falling two holes behind the group in front of them.
When Fribbs and Dailey were looking for a ball in the left rough at 7th hole, Smith hit his ball on the green. When Dailey reached the green, according to Fribbs, he said to Smith, “If we could make an effort to find balls and pick up flagpoles alike, we could catch up.”
According to Fribbs, Smith’s father said to Dailey on the eighth tee shot, “I’m not here to look for your balls.
Fribbs said Dailey pushed Smith’s father away, and Luke Smith jumped on Dailey and wrestled him to the ground.
“From then on it just escalated and the cops showed up,” said Fribbs, who played at the University of Colorado. “It was pretty embarrassing for Luke and his father. The father just encouraged it all along.
Fribbs finished his round with a club pro as a marker. He missed the cut with a 79.
Smith, who plays collegially in Tennessee-Martin, was arrested on an offense. He was briefly held in Harvey County Detention Center before being released on bail.
Newton Police said their report would be forwarded to the Newton City Prosecutor’s Office to review the charges. The police declined to provide any further details to ESPN.
In a statement on Monday, the Korn Ferry Tour said the players involved in the incident are not members of the tour.