Brett Coletta has turned his attention to this week’s AVJennings NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club after playing his way through to the Final Stage of Web .com Tour Qualifying School.
At least, he will as soon as the jetlag subsides.
Immediately after wrapping up a place in Final Stage next month, Coletta was on a plane out of Los Angeles headed for Sydney and a whirlwind two weeks at the NSW Open and then the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club.
Joint leader after the first round at Twin Creeks 12 months ago, the Victorian was the only Australian to progress from Second Stage at Bear Creek Golf Club in California, Kiwi Steven Alker also advancing to Final Stage that provides status on the Web .com Tour for 2019.
As Coletta celebrated, there was disappointment for Sydneysider Harrison Endycott whose two-over final round saw him drop out of the top 18 who qualified, with Nick Flanagan, Steve Allan, Mark Hensby and New Zealand’s Ben Campbell all unable to progress.
Having qualified to play on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada this year via Q-School in May, Coletta’s experiences at Q-School have been mostly positive but that doesn’t take away from the vastly different atmosphere that is created.
“I’d heard mixed reviews from Second Stage. It was a bit of a weird week. If I had to explain it in one word it would be weird,” Coletta said.
“It was an interesting feeling. It was nothing that I’d ever experienced before. I’d heard multiple times that it’s probably the toughest event of the year so I prepared for the worst. I played relatively well but it was just a pretty random feel to it. It was just weird. It’s not a nice spot to be.”
With rounds of 68-68-67, the 22-year-old began the final round knowing that even an ordinary 18 holes would be good enough to advance, a position that presented a challenge in itself.
“The feeling the morning of the fourth round was the worst by a country mile,” he explained. “I had the worst mindset. I could ‘bodge’ in from where I was and still make it, which is the worst attitude to have but there was nothing on the line, you’re going through the motions.
“At the same time I had a flight that night, I knew that I’d be finishing around 4pm and with traffic it would take a while to get to the airport so that was playing on my mind. But I got the job done so no complaints.”
With Final Stage set down for December 6-9 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona, Coletta will miss the Australian PGA Championship as he endeavours to continue his excellent strike rate at qualifying schools and set up a near full schedule on the Web .com Tour next year.
“Essentially I’m a Web .com status holder but how high you finish (at Final Stage) determines what category you get and how many starts you get in each sector,” Coletta said.
“I’m going to prepare as well as I can, sort out a good caddie and give myself adequate time to play well over there. Based on what I’ve done previously if I’ve got something on the line that needs to be pressed a little bit to play well I can generally pull something out. I’ve got these two weeks to try and play well and lock up my Aussie card but my priority is to go there and play as well as I can at Final Stage.”
Second Stage qualifiers are continuing this week with Aussie amateur Min Woo Lee hoping to advance from the tournament in Texas and New Zealand’s Tim Wilkinson seeking a spot at Final Stage from the qualifier being played in Florida.