Date: October 13, 2016
Author: Bernie Pramberg

Coletta misses US Masters start but lucks out at Isuzu Queensland Open

orian amateur Brett Coletta has moved on from the disappointment of narrowly missing a 2017 US Masters start to focus on a strong showing at the Isuzu Queensland Open.

Golf Queensland has granted Coletta, 20, exemption from pre-qualifying for the Open following the decision of another top amateur, Cameron Davis, to make his professional debut at the event.

Coletta was runner-up in last week’s prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Korea where the winner qualifies for the US Masters. He lost by one stroke to fellow Australian Curtis Luck who was already in the Masters field, legacy of his triumph in this year’s US Amateur.

“It was obviously not the result I wanted, but I have to be proud of the way I played,’’ said Coletta.

“I have to keep my spirits high and prepare well for Brisbane. It was a bonus receiving the exemption which has taken pre-qualifying out of the equation.’’

Coletta gained a first-hand insight into the vagaries of Brisbane Golf Club as captain of the Victorian team in the amateur interstate series in May.

“We did our homework before the series and the format was probably the best way of becoming familiar with the course,’’ he said. “You are playing match play twice a day for almost one week so you get to know what is required.

“We’re also fortunate to play around the world and become used to adjusting to different conditions.’’

Ironically, the last amateur to win the Open was also a 20-year old Victoria, Stuart Appleby in 1991.

Coletta, who was 2015 US Amateur strokeplay medallist, led the Asia-Pacific into the final round but was overhauled by Luck who later said he felt “a little guilty” at defeating his close mate.

“Brett is a really close friend of mine and I understand the opportunity he has missed out on,’’ he said.

“I do feel a little guilty and sad, but I’m so competitive I couldn’t give up the opportunity to win an event like this.’’

The Isuzu Queensland Open, which carries prizemoney of $110,000 and a hole-in-one bonanza of $500,000 on the short par-4, 15th hole, starts on Thursday. Admission to the course is free.

Pre-qualifying for the tournament will be held Monday at Keperra and Virginia with over 200 players vying for a minimum of 21 places in the field.