Youngker golfer making his mark

At age 15, Youngker High School student Broc Hurd of Buckeye was the youngest amateur to participate in the John Deere Classic Pro-Am in July.

By Casey Pritchard

Broc Hurd is only 16, but he’s already breaking records.

In July, the Youngker High School junior, then 15, became the youngest golfer to play in the John Deere Classic Pro-Am at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Hurd shot a 3-under par 68 while paired with three other amateurs and professional golfer Boo Weekley.

“It was a really good experience, playing alongside a pro and their caddie, seeing what they do and picking up on what they can do. It helped me,” he said.

The pro-am tournament was a warm-up round for the professionals before the John Deere Classic. He said the professionals played with four amateurs for the pro-am, which was a really fun and helpful experience.

“(Weekley) was really nice,” Hurd said. “He was a funny guy on the course. He would mess around, talk in between your shots, make you mess up; just having fun around the course.”

Weekley’s antics didn’t affect Hurd’s scoring. His strong round helped his team place in the top five out of 52 teams. He said that was one of his better scores at the course, even though his “putting was off a little.”

The course is familiar to the teen, who grew up in East Moline, which borders Silvis. His mom and grandfather had been trying to get him into the pro-am for a few years. The teen’s mom, Bobbi Jo Hurd, said it was her father’s dream for her son to be a successful golfer.

“He doesn’t golf anymore, so his dream is to see Broc take golf to the extreme,” she said.

Two years ago, the family made a call to see what it would take to get him into the pro-am. He only needed his name on a list. This year, his name made it to the top of the list just in time.

“They called and said, ‘We’re waiting on one call, and if they don’t call by tomorrow, the spot is yours if you want it,’” Bobbi Jo said.

The other entrant never called back, so Hurd got the spot. It cost $4,500 to play in the event, but with a little bit of help they made it happen.

“I’m a nurse, and a couple doctors back home thought it was cool to have a kid from our area do this, the youngest to ever be in a pro-am,” Bobbi Jo said. “They sponsored a little bit. Anything will help, but my dad was so proud of him to be at that point that he was like, ‘We’ll do this, 100 percent.’”

From here on, Hurd is automatically in the tournament every year if he can pay the $4,500 entrant fee. Bobbi Jo said they are already looking into sponsors for the future.

Meanwhile, Hurd has started his high school season at Youngker. He and his mom moved to Buckeye in the summer of 2015, and the change of scenery was a welcoming one for the student and his golf game.

“He can play year-round, so that was a huge plus in his eyes,” Bobbi Jo said.

The Roughriders began practicing August 9 and will play their first match August 29 at Golf Club of Estrella against Estrella Foothills and Verrado. Hurd is looking to make the state tournament for the first time, narrowly missing last year’s Division II event.

“You have to be top 30, and I was just out of it,” he said. “I think (this year) I have to work with my coach more and see what we have to do to get ready for the upcoming season, and work more on my putting, see what he can do for me.”

Bobbi Jo said she thinks playing in the pro-am will go a long way in boosting his confidence so he can make state this year.

“Being in the pro-am really helped his scoring,” she said. “(His scoring average) is right at 72-74 right now. If we can keep him there, he only needs five meets to qualify, so, if we can keep him at 74, he’ll go.”

Hurd is a longtime golfer but has been doing it competitively for only the last four years. He was introduced to the sport when he was 3 years old.

“I started with a Walmart plastic set,” he said. “In the front yard by the frontage road, I started hitting practice balls around.”

Hurd received his first real set of clubs at 8, and his grandfather helped him get to the level he’s at today.

“My dad is 100 percent responsible for all of this,” Bobbi Jo said. “He always said Broc has the talent in him, and we got him some coaches here and there.”

Hurd has been instructed twice at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, which houses the PGA Tour Golf Academy. However, Grandpa has always been the one constant.

“I used to work with him every day, what we had to do when we messed up on the other days,” Hurd said.

He added putting is the weakest part of his game and iron play is his strongest. He practices every day, including weekends, and has lofty goals for himself.

“I want to go one or two years in college. Hopefully I can start the tour school and get a PGA tour card, and hopefully be on the tour in five years,” Hurd said.

If he continues to shoot rounds like he did at the pro-am, Hurd could well be on his way to a professional career.

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