Pre-Qualifier Pro Strikes Again With Rounds Of 120 And 135 In Recent Outings

Syed Zaki is making a name for himself for the wrong reasons after playing in two more qualifying events and shooting 120 and 135

Close up of a golf scorecard and pencil with stroke index
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Syed Zaki is not a name you’d instantly recognise but he’s quickly making a name for himself on the PGA Tour qualifying circuit after wracking up more huge three-figure scores in events around the USA.

The mystery golfer, who apparently hails from Florida according to some of the scorecards that have been posted on social media, has been piling up the big numbers in recent weeks while playing in qualifying events.

He first came to our attention late last year when playing in Orlando in pre-qualifying for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship when he shot 69…for the font nine!

A score of 33 over par for his front nine promptly saw Zaki withdraw from the competition much to the amazement, and quite frankly relief, of his playing partners – but he’s been back for more.

Zaki rather hopefully entered a Senior US Open qualifying event at Oak Ridge Country Club in Tennessee – where he ended up shooting a round of 120.

Amazingly, that represents something of an improvement as he also tried his luck at pre-qualifying for the Mexico Open in Houston in April, where he ran up an eye-watering 135.

An eventful round there saw Zaki score two 10s, one 12 and a 13 – carding more double-digit scores than pars as he made just two of those.

One bogey, four doubles and 11 ‘others’ made up a truly remarkable round, not for the right reasons of course, and his exploits have not gone down too well in some circles with critics feeling he could be off putting to players with genuine hopes of qualifying.

It seems Zaki may have watched the film ‘The Phantom of the Open’ about Maurice Flitcroft’s famous attempt to qualify for the 1976 Open Championship despite never playing a round of golf before – and taking it to a new level.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.