ALEDO, Texas -- Tony Romo's attempt to make next month's U.S. Open ended in local qualifying Monday with a 75 at Split Rail Links & Golf Club, but the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback feels like his golf game is just starting.
Romo finished tied for 40th in the field of 117 players, six strokes out of a playoff for one of the seven spots to qualify for the sectionals and two alternate spots.
Edward Loar of Rockwall, Texas, posted the low score of 66. Derek Ernst, Arnie Martinez, Stetson McMillan and Cyril Bouniol came in at 67, followed by Chris Brown at 68. Joseph Abella won a playoff to earn the final spot after finishing with a 69.
"It's been awhile since I felt the feeling from the competitive aspect in the golf world, so it's been good," Romo said. "I'm just starting back up and playing a little bit here in the last two months, and there's some good signs. I actually hit the ball pretty well today in tough conditions."
Romo hit 14 of 18 greens, but he was done in by four three-putts and a triple-bogey on No. 15 that ended his run at contention. Romo's highlight was a near tap-in eagle on No. 14 that had the gallery of a couple hundred buzzing. On the 600-yard par 5, Romo hit a 370-yard drive and a 225-yard 6-iron to within 3 feet that moved him to 1 over on his round.
"You wanted to have it land soft with the front pin, and it just kind of ended up right there," Romo said.
But his drive on the next hole drifted right and rolled into a pond. Since this was only his second round on the course, he said he was not aware the water was there with a drive into a strong wind.
"That was the disappointing part," Romo said. "I felt I was back in it."
Romo's triple-bogey effectively ended his chances, but he finished his round with an 8-footer for birdie and a 75.
"When you're playing against great players, you shouldn't have four [three-putts] in four rounds, so four in one round pretty much ends your day," Romo said. "That and one bad hole."
Romo had by far the largest gallery of the day with some fans wearing his No. 9 jersey. Some homeowners taped posters to their back fences in support of Romo, and another had a giant inflatable of Romo in the backyard.
After his round, Romo signed autographs and took some photos.
"Most of the people were out there the entire day and rooting you on, and I wanted to give them something to get excited about," Romo said. "That eagle got it going a little bit. A couple of the birdies were nice, but seeing how much people care about you sometimes and want to see you succeed, it's humbling honestly ... You want to say thank you. They can do anything they want, and to come out here, it's special, so I feel really good about that."
This was Romo's first attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open since 2011 with back injuries starting in 2013 limiting his tournament golf. In 2010, he made it to the sectional round of the qualifying process, but he had to withdraw after an opening-round 71 when the weather forced a delay.
Back then he had a day job as the Cowboys' quarterback and needed to be back for organized team activities.
With his new job as lead football analyst for CBS, Romo has a little more time to play tournament golf. He is looking at possibly playing in the Western Amateur in late July and perhaps the U.S. Amateur in mid-August if they don't conflict with his new job.
But like it was during his days as the Cowboys' quarterback, his work with CBS will take precedence.
"I'm going to do as much as I possibly can to be ready," Romo said, "but like everyone tells you, there's nothing like when the red light goes on."