Sometimes fate can lead to a golden opportunity.
When McPherson High's Jacob Lackey was playing in the Kansas State Junior Amateur Golf Tournament, Rogers State coach Josh Fosdick was following another player in Lackey's group.
But the MHS senior-to-be played so well that Fosdick decided that maybe Lackey was the player he should be looking at.
Fosdick soon after was named the head coach at the University of Central Oklahoma and he didn't forget Lackey.
"He said he was still interested in me," Lackey said.
Lackey on Wednesday signed a golf letter of intent with UCO, a big-time NCAA Division II program. This fall the Bronchos competed in five tournaments, never finishing below fourth.
"They've got a really good group of kids down there," Lackey said. "Coach Fosdick is a great coach. He's been a coach at some great places. He was an assistant at Oklahoma State for a couple of years. He knows what he's doing."
Lackey has been a Bullpup mainstay since his freshman year, but really emerged as a junior. He had seven Top-10 finishes, was a regional champion at Wamego and competed in the state tournament. This summer he became a hot commodity when he had Top 3 finishes in all four KJGA qualifiers, took fourth in the Big I National Tourney, was in the Top 20 at the Kansas Junior Amateur and qualified for match play in the Kansas Men’s Amateur, which gathers all of the top players in Kansas.
As a sophomore, Lackey had five Top 10s and was the No. 1 sophomore in the Hutchinson Invitational, a tourney that includes 36 teams and 180 players. He also was the AVCTL individual champion. During the summer, he qualified for Team Kansas that competed in the prestigious Oakley Cup in Oklahoma, winning both his matches for his team that won the tourney title.
Now he's primed for a big senior year, especially now that he knows he's mapped out his college future.
"State championship is always a goal," Lackey said. "But the goal is to take one tournament at a time. My sophomore year, what happened at regionals is that I kind of got ahead of myself (and missed qualifying for state). Hopefully I can do what I did at regionals (67 at very tough Wamego Country Club) and back that up my senior year."
Lackey, who also won the McPherson City Tournament this past summer, is more sure of himself now as there's no substitute for experience.
"It built a lot of confidence," he said of his spectacular summer. "It gave me the confidence that I can compete with these guys (the top players)."
He also has been a member of the McPherson High basketball team and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Lackey, who puts in countless hours on the range and has tremendous length off the tee, will be majoring in professional golf management and business.