Amateur star Brett Coletta of Australia will make his much anticipated professional debut at this week’s SMBC Singapore Open, organisers announced today.
Coletta, who shook up Australian golf last year by winning the Queensland Open and coming second in the NSW Open, has been handed an invitation to the prestigious tournament which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
He joins a fine field of amateurs including Singapore’s number one ranked amateur Gregory Foo, Joshua Ho, ranked second, and Lucius Toh – winner of last year’s National Amateur Championship.
Thailand’s Kamalas Namuangruk, who claimed the 2016 Singapore Open Amateur Championship, is also competing.
The US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open, won last year by Korea’s Younghan Song who pipped American superstar Jordan Spieth in a thrilling finale, will be played over the famed Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club from January 19-22.
The star attractions are three-time champion and former world number one Adam Scott, multiple Major winner Ernie Els and popular Spaniard Sergio Garcia.
Twenty-year old 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.
“It’s been a big couple of months, that’s for sure,” Coletta told Golf Australia at the weekend.
“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.
“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.”