Rising star Brett Coletta of Australia had a professional debut to savour at the SMBC Singapore Open when he bookended his two under 69 with a birdie and an eagle.
Twenty-year old Coletta, who shook up Australian golf last year by winning the Queensland Open and coming second in the NSW Open, is playing the prestigious tournament on an invitation.
With a swing that has been compared to that of countryman Adam Scott, the three-time Singapore Open champion, Coletta’s debut as a professional was much anticipated and he did not disappoint.
He made the perfect start to his pro career with a birdie at the first hole and picked up another shot at the third.
Three subsequent bogeys put pressure on the youngster but, in fading light after a long rain break, he finished in style with a birdie at the 16th hole and an eagle at the par-five 18th.
His second round on Friday lacked the fireworks of round one but his one-over 72 for a one under total of 141 sees him well placed to make the cut.
Coletta, the strokeplay medallist at the 2015 US Amateur Championship, endured the highs and lows of tournament golf in the latter part of 2016.
After finishing runner-up to countryman Curtis Luck in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea last October – Luck having roared back from seven shots behind at the start of the final round – Coletta regrouped and just a fortnight later beat a strong field of professionals to triumph in the Queensland Open at The Brisbane Golf Club.
He became the first amateur to win the event since Australian Stuart Appleby lifted the title in 1991.
Coletta underlined his potential by finishing joint runner-up to compatriot Adam Blyth at the NSW Open in early November, results which convinced him it was time to relinquish his amateur status.
“I have been working hard for several years to reach the point where I think my game can contend at the professional level and those results proved to me that it’s time to give it a shot,” he said after announcing his decision.
“Losing out to Curtis in the Asia-Pacific Amateur was a pretty tough hit to take, but it also taught me a lot of invaluable lessons you can’t always find on the practice range.
“I think I showed it didn’t affect me and that I learnt from it, so hopefully my game will stand up in Singapore and beyond.”