UVa's Ben Kohles' Surprise Rise in Professional Golf
Just four months ago he graduated from the University of Virginia with hopes of making it as a professional golfer. Ben Kohles was an All-ACC golfer at Virginia. He recently has shocked the golfing world by winning his first two professional events something no golfer had ever done, not even Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. It may be too soon to call Kohles the next big thing in pro golf but he's proving he belongs with some of the best.
On a beautiful day at Avenel golf course in Potomac, Maryland, Kohles is taking part in a Pro-Am. A friendly practice round before he gets set to tee off in the Web.com tour's annual event there. Kohles made headlines on this professional tour this summer when he won the first two events he played in.
Kohles says, "I was playing good going in but to go right out of the gate and win the first two, can't get much better than that. It was definitely a blessing and I had a lot of fun doing it."
The Web.com tour is the minor leagues of golf but there is nothing petty about the amount of cash Kohles has won. The two early wins in Omaha and Columbus, Ohio helped the 22-year old Cary, North Carolina native rise to fifth on the tour's money list grossing almost 300 thousand dollars.
Have you made a big first purchase with your winnings?
Kohles says, " No, I bought an ipad and a few other little things, I'll just keep putting it in the bank and we'll see later down the road."
At Virginia, Kohles was a three-time All-American and voted the ACC Golfer of the Year in his sophomore and junior seasons. He wasn't highly recruited out of high school and although his talents were obvious at UVa, no one projected him as golf's next rising star.
UVa golf coach Bowen Sargent says, " The putting is the best part of his game, but along with that is the mental part, he's extremely mentally tough, great competitor, never wants to lose, I know a lot people say that but he kinds of lives it."
With two wins already in his professional career, Kohles has guaranteed himself a spot on the PGA tour for next season.
Kohles says, "I Still have a lot of work to do before next year, hopefully can finish this season out strong and get some confidence going into next year... keep doing what I'm doing and stick to my game and keep with what's got me here and gotten me the success I've had so far, just going to keep grinding and getting better each day.
Sargent says, "He's pretty young to have his tour card, when the average age is about 30, he's 21, 22 he has a lot to learn which isn't a bad thing, but I expect him to do extremely well, and his career is not going to be judged on what he does next year, this is going to be a young man who's going to be out there for hopefully 30 years."
Have you come to the realization that you're going to be able to play golf for a job?
Kohles adds, "Yeah, that's what I've been wanting to do my whole life, since I started playing when I was 13 years old so it's a dream come true and I'm just ready to get it going."
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