Date: September 11, 2015
Author: Tom Fee

Coletta’s unwanted brush with Hawks

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If there’s anything that can derail a golfer before a big tournament, it’s lost baggage.

After arriving in Perth for the Mandurah Amateur, Brett Coletta was almost dealt this cruel blow and from an unlikely source – the Hawthorn Football Club.

Both the Hawks and the up-and-coming Coletta share the same goal this week of winning on West Australian soil.

Somehow, the Hawks could see the similarity. Instead of the baggage carousel, Coletta’s bags ended up on the Hawks’ bus, leaving the Victorian – and 30 other interstate golfers – waiting at the airport in confusion.

The bags were eventually returned and no harm was done — the rain inundating the city had already put an end to any possibility of an evening practice session.

Instead of feeling relief when his bag was returned, Coletta bemoaned a missed opportunity to visit the team and score some finals tickets.

But for the Bombers fan, there are bigger fish to fry this week.

The Mandurah Amateur is WA’s premier strokeplay event, and it’s been a friendly one for the locals with WA’s Jarryd Felton going back to back in 2013 and 2014.

Since 2007, WA and Victorian golfers have split the honours with four wins each, and on paper it looks like to be another power struggle between the two states.

Coletta is joined by Australian No. 2 Ben Eccles, along with five other Victorians who feature in the top 20 in the Australian rankings.

With Felton choosing European Tour Qualifying School over a prospective three-peat in Mandurah, it will be up to WA's up-and-coming talent in Curtis Luck, Min Woo Lee and Kiran Day to stave off the interstate raiders.

On top of the 11 Victorians playing Mandurah Country Club this week, there are nine from NSW, five from Tasmania and three each from Queensland and South Australia.

But coming off a brilliant performance as Medallist at the recent US Amateur, Coletta is a firm favourite to continue his winning ways into the Australian amateur season.

And with plenty of time to kill at the airport, the Golf Australia national squad member shared his aspirations over the coming months.

“My goal from this this summer is to try and earn some professional starts. Any pro event is a great experience for me as it gives you an idea of where you are at in your development.”

Coletta could add at least one professional event to his calendar if his performs this week, with an exemption to November’s Nexus Risk Services WA Open on offer to the winner.

But Coletta knows he has a tough ask ahead of him.

“There are a lot great golfers (here) and many of them were with me over in the US. It’s a tough field and I think there are plenty who can win it.”

Although 311 of the world’s best failed to match Coletta in the US Amateur strokeplay, he has tempered expectations against the field of 106 — although the confidence is there in his return to tournament golf.

“I’m not feeling anything out of the ordinary, but it will be interesting to see how I go this week. I haven’t played since I’ve been back from the States, apart from training and practising, but yeah, I’m feeling that confidence.”