How fickle is golf? This college golfer’s performance is a reminder

jacob sosa swings

Jacob Sosa had a dream start at the Southwestern Invitational, but the next two rounds remind us how fleeting good play can be.

Courtesy of University of Texas Athletics

Every golfer knows that golf can be a fickle game. One day you feel like you can’t do anything wrong — and the next day you might play so bad you consider giving up the sport entirely. Chasing the high of your next great round without knowing when it’s coming? That’s golf.

The fleeting nature of good play isn’t exclusive to recreational golfers. It permeates all the way up to the highest levels of the game. In 2010, Rory McIlroy began the British Open with a round of 63 only to lose a battle against horrific weather the next day and limp home with an 80. Just last year, Sihwan Kim worked in the opposite direction as he opened his LIV Golf Boston appearance with an 87 and turned around in Round 2 with a 63. If it can happen to the pros, it can happen to anyone.

You can add college golfer Jacob Sosa to that list.

Sosa, a freshman at the University of Texas, opened the Southwest Invitational earlier this week with the round of his life. He made five birdies and three eagles in Round 1 at North Ranch Country Club on his way to a program-record 61.

“It was a great round, that’s for darn sure,” Texas head coach John Fields told “He had been playing really well at home, and he we play hard golf courses at home, so his rounds indicated that he was playing very well … It was really cool to watch him do this.”

The context of the round makes the feat all the more remarkable. The Southwest Invitational was just Sosa’s fourth ever collegiate appearance, and the 61 was his first time breaking 70 on the season. Not only was the round a program record — besting the likes of Justin Leonard, David Gossett, Brandon Stone and Gavin Hall, who shared the previous record of 63 — but it was also a course record, tournament record and his career-best.

Unfortunately for Sosa, great golf is fleeting.

The magic from the opening-round seemed to dry up in Round 2, and the freshman posted a two-over 74. The final round was more of the same as Sosa carded another two-over 74 as he dropped out of the lead for a solo-third finish.

It was still a terrific week; the third-place finish is the freshman’s best to date in a collegiate event, and his Longhorns claimed the team title by 13 shots. But after a 61, back-to-back 74s must feel a bit frustrating.

The good news for Sosa? There’s always next round. And while it might be tough to top the greatest round of his life, this is golf. Who knows what’s right around the corner?

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