Something incredibly bizarre happened on Monday in a U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament at Mayacoo Lakes CC in West Palm Beach, Fla.
For a time that evening, it looked as though there had to be a glitch with the Florida State Golf Association’s scoring system, as it showed a score of 194 for 18 holes — 123-over par — for a player named Trey Bilardello, 33, who caddies on the PGA Tour for Matt Every and was on the bag just last week when Every missed the cut in the John Deere Classic.
Darin Green, the FSGA’s director of rules and competitions, confirmed to Golf Digest that there was in fact in error — but not the kind you’d think. The score, Green told Golf Digest in an email, was actually eight strokes higher — a 131-over-par 202 on the par-71 course.
Turns out the person entering the scores didn’t know how to input anything higher than a 19 on a single hole.
Bilardello is listed as a 2.2 handicap — the qualifier had a 2.4 handicap limit — and has had several tournament scores in the 70s over the last few of years. He actually recorded single-hole scores of 25 and 21 during the round on Monday.
On Tuesday, the FSGA updated its leaderboard to reflect Bilardello’s 202 — fixing the initial 194 — and then went on to disqualify him under Rule 1.2 for serious misconduct and failing to play in the spirit of the game.
Beth Major, the USGA’s senior director of championship communications, told Golf Digest, “His disqualification was deemed appropriate as a result of the individual’s failure to show consideration for other players — deliberately playing away from the hole to run up his score.”
Golf Channel caught up with Kristian Fortis, Bilardello’s playing partner on Monday, to learn more about what went on:
“He just started off like normal,” Fortis said. “He was actually not a bad golfer, and he hit some nice shots. He had two pars, and then it started to go a little downhill.”
Bilardello parred each of his first two holes before making triple bogey at the par-4 12th hole. He then carded a 10 on the par-5 13th, his first of 10 double-digit scores on individual holes.
“After the first nine, he said that he wanted to shoot the highest recorded score in USGA history,” Fortis said. “He just did not care. He was really rude to a lot of the officials, too. Something was off.”
Fortis said that once their group caught the last group off the opposite side, things got more bizarre.
“He would chip shots and scoot his ball around on the tee box just to add strokes, and then he would just pipe a 2-iron down the middle of the fairway, hit it on the green and then just scoot his ball around again with his putter,” Fortis said. “He’d be right next to the hole and then I guess he’d think to himself that he didn’t have enough strokes and he’d hit his ball in the opposite direction of the hole.”
This isn’t Bilardello’s first incident on the course as a player.
A source told The Caddie Network on Tuesday that Bilardello was suspended indefinitely in June from the Minor League Golf Tour for destroying a GPS unit on a golf cart during an event at Abocoa Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla. Bilardello’s last two starts on that tour — June 10-11 — show his final result as “DNF” (Did not finish).
As a result of the GPS unit incident, the Minor League Golf Tour issued a statement and a new player code of conduct policy on June 21, which read in part:
“There have been two instances in the past 30 days where a player has damaged golf course property during one of our events. Both resulting in a financial responsibility for the tour and a major strain on the relationship of those two venues. There is and will continue to be a zero tolerance policy for behavior unbecoming a professional. Any player behaving inappropriately will face possible suspension from the MLGT. There is no place for this in professional golf. The majority of the venues that host our events do it as a favor to support tournament golf and help provide an avenue for players to develop their game to hopefully reach the next level. The MLGT and the participants in each event are guests of the host venue and will treat the course and the staff with the upmost respect.”
The Caddie Network will provide more details when they become available.