A course record that was equalled inside hours and a 20-under total that wasn’t good enough to finish inside the top 10; Brett Coletta knows that Korn Ferry Tour victories don’t come easy.
When the Victorian opened with a 9-under 63 in the first group out in Wednesday’s opening round it seemed a mark no one would match yet just hours later Vince India matched the new course record at The King and Bear layout at World Golf Village, the pair sharing the round one lead of The King and Bear Classic in Florida.
Setting a hot pace, both Coletta and India followed up their day one fireworks with 6-under par rounds of 66 in round two to co-own the 36-hole lead, Coletta finishing in a flurry of five birdies in seven holes to lead at the halfway mark for the first time on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“It always feels good to be in contention,” said Coletta, who came into the week having not played the weekend in his first four events of the year.
“That’s what you play for and what you come here to do. I’m stoked to be back in contention for sure.”
A 2-under 70 in the third round saw Coletta lose ground to the frontrunners to be tied for eighth and a final round of 3-under 69 – where he birdied the final three holes of the tournament – saw him finish in a tie for 14th, six shots back of tournament winner Chris Kirk at 26-under.
As Coletta bolted out of the blocks on Wednesday West Australian Curtis Luck built his way into the tournament superbly, going on to finish one shot back of Coletta in a tie for 16th.
Opening with a 4-under 68, Luck made par at the first six holes of his second round before he too joined in the sub-par plunge, making birdie at seven of the next 10 holes to shoot a bogey-free 65 and establish a strong position at the halfway mark.
A lone bogey was the only blot on a third round of 5-under 67 and Luck was headed for top Aussie honours on the final day until a wayward tee shot at the par-3 14th resulted in a penalty and a subsequent double bogey as he closed out his week with a 3-under 69.
Kiwi Tim Wilkinson was the next best of the Australasian contingent in a tie for 54th while Ryan Ruffels gave an indication that better results are not far off after beginning the week with rounds of 66-68 before falling to a tie for 58th over the final two rounds.
This week the Korn Ferry Tour moves on to Utah for the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank at Oakridge Country Club where five Aussies are due to tee it up.
There was very little Australasian representation over the final two rounds of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links with Matt Jones the only Aussie to make the cut for the second straight week and Kiwi Danny Lee finishing tied for 70th as Webb Simpson earned his seventh PGA TOUR title by a stroke from Abraham Ancer.
Korn Ferry Tour
The King & Bear Classic at World Golf Village
King & Bear at World Golf Village, St Augustine, Florida
T14 Brett Coletta 63-66-70-69—268 $US11,100
T16 Curtis Luck 68-65-67-69—269 $9,000
T54 Tim Wilkinson 67-70-69-69—275 $2,514
T58 Ryan Ruffels 66-68-73-69—276 $2,466
MC Brett Drewitt 67-72—139
MC Jamie Arnold 72-70—142
MC Robert Allenby 73-70—143
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, Georgia
T52 Matt Jones 69-69-66-71—275 $US16,827
T71 Danny Lee 68-67-76-70—281 $14,342
MC Aaron Baddeley 71-68—139
MC Jason Day 71-69—140
MC Cameron Smith 69-72—141