Tyler Collet returned to where it all began on Tuesday.
His great run for success.
Collet, a PGA Assistant Professional at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, had never won a PGA event in South Florida before competing in the Sectional Pro Championship in Broken Sound last year.
Thanks to a birdie on the 16th hole, Collet held out his win in one fell swoop. Since then, his game of golf has not been the same.
This victory opened more doors for him than a hotel servant.
It earned him a spot at the PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico, where he played solidly and only missed the cut by two strokes. It also earned him a spot in the PGA Professional Championship, where he finished in the top 20 to secure entry into this year’s PGA Championship on Kiawah Island.
“It was my first big win,” said Collet, who recently turned 26, on Monday. “It obviously got me to Puerto Rico and the national club pro event. It ended up kicking off my playing career. It was big. ”
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Collet seeks to replicate that success when he defends his title in the SFPGA Professional Championship held at the BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens. The 54-hole event runs until Thursday.
The section championship last year was no walk in the park for Collet. He fought his way to a 2-over 74 on the first lap and was six strokes behind the leader.
He felt lost, unable to hit the ball on the golf course as he was used to.
“I couldn’t get a draw to save my life,” said Collet. “So I called JP (John Connelly, John’s Island Head PGA Professional) and said I needed help. He watched videos of my swing and told me that I wasn’t going to finish my back swing, that I was too fast. “
Collet shot a 6-under 66 the next day and was back in the tournament. He was only two strokes behind moving into the final lap.
Collet finished with a 3-under 69 – one of only three rounds in the 1960s – and won with a shot over Matt Doyle of Turtle Creek and Paul Scaletta of Bear’s Club.
“I told JP he was a lifesaver. He said, ‘I’ll get some help for that,’ ”said Collet. “I told him, ‘You can have an assistant.’ These things happen when you least expect them. “
Defending the title isn’t Collet’s only goal this week. He ranks second in the Player of the Year ranking behind 10-time POY winner Alan Morin of The Club at Ibis. Collet finished 69 points behind Morin last year, 35 behind the SFPGA Professional Championship.
“I really want to play at the Honda Classic,” said Collet, referring to the exception that the player of the year receives.
Morin remains the player to beat. He has won this tournament five times, including the last player to defend himself (2015, 2016).
Other Treasure Coast golfers to win this championship: Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound in 2005, Chris Campbell of Vero Beach in 1998, and Roger Kennedy Sr. of Stuart in 1984.
Patrick Rada, PGA Head Professional at McArthur Club in Hobe Sound, is fifth in the Player of the Year rating. He also qualified for the PGA Championship this year.
Rada and Collet are exempt from next year’s PGA Professional Championship, but Collet wants more.
Not all golfers?
LPGA Tour returns to South Florida
The LPGA Tour announced Tuesday that the Gainbridge LPGA in Boca Rio is back on schedule in January. The tournament had taken place in 2020 – the first time an LPGA event had been held in Palm Beach County since 1989 – but this year it was relocated to Lake Nona in Orlando due to COVID-19 concerns.
Craig Dolch is a TCPalm.com correspondent with over 30 years of golf writing experience.
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