Credit to Eric Cole.
Back in March, the 35-year-old journeyman had the opportunity of a lifetime trying to win in his home state as a PGA Tour rookie at the Honda Classic.
Cole ultimately fell short in a playoff to Chris Kirk, but the mini-tour legend has continued to play excellent golf in wake of the heartbreak.
Cole added a T-5th finish at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, T-15th at the PGA Championship, T-6th at the RBC Canadian Open, and T-24th in his last start at the Travelers Championship.
True to his mini-tour roots, he made the pilgrimage last week to the Frank B Fuhrer Jr. Invitational in Pittsburgh. The tournament is in its final year and was one of the bigger events Cole’s won in his career. He won it again in 2023.
Cole didn’t need the $20,000 winner’s check. In fact, he donated it back to the tournament founder’s family. Cole just wanted to be there for the love of the game, and to support a tournament that helped him climb the pro golf ranks.
It’s easy to pull for a guy like that.
While Cole is a PGA Tour rookie, he does have experience at the John Deere Classic. He Monday qualified into the field in 2021. Cole posted a solid 2-under 69 in round one but missed the cut after a 74 on Friday.
At least this won’t be his first time seeing the venue as has been the case throughout much of Cole’s impressive season.
The Nova Southeastern University alum is 25th on the PGA Tour this season in total strokes gained per round (.972). Cole is 17th in SG putting (.529).
The diminutive golfer doesn’t bomb it off the tee and is not a great course fit week in and week out. However, a place like TPC Deere Run where he can lean on his top-50 approach play and putting is right up his alley.