Brett Coletta – file photo Bruce Young

Victorian Brett Coletta has made a near perfect start to his 2021 golfing year with opening rounds of 63 and 69 to be one behind the lead at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch in Florida, about an hour south of Tampa.

The event is the first Korn Ferry Tour event since last October and will be the first of twenty in the regular season in 2021 followed by three Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

Coletta, who agonisingly missed his PGA Tour card at the completion of the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour season by finishing 27th in the season’s standings (25 players earned their card), struggled for much of 2020 but in this carry-over season he has rekindled his hopes of playing the PGA Tour in 2022.

The doubling up of the seasons became necessary as a result of the impacts of COVID

The 24-year-old, who won the 2016 Queensland Open just two weeks after finishing runner-up to Curtis Luck at the Asia Pacific Amateur that year, has been unable to fully realise his considerable talent to date but perhaps his start this week is a sign of better things to come.

In order to gain access to the PGA Tour in 2022, he will need to be inside the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour points list by mid-August when the combined regular seasons of 2020 and 2021 come to a finish in Omaha although there is further opportunity via the three event finals immediately following.

Currently Coletta is in 82nd position in the carry-over season but a good finish this week will obviously aid his cause.

Coletta’s fellow Australian, Mark Hensby, who will turn 50 in June, is in 28th place at 5 under and six from the lead, a position he shares with New Zealand’s, Steve Alker, while New Zealander Nick Voke is at 4 under with Curtis Luck and Brett Drewitt just making the cut on the number.