By CRAIG DOLCH
Special to South Florida PGA
NAPLES (July 13, 2021) – Andrew Filbert and Justin Smith made seven birdies on the last eight holes Tuesday to win the Yamaha Pro-Pro Championship Presented by Callaway despite a hole-in-one by Alan Morin.
Filbert, a PGA Assistant Professional at West Bay, and Smith, a PGA Instructor at Bonita Bay West, shot 11-under 61 at Hammock Bay with Smith making the crucial birdie putt on the 18th hole. Filbert and Smith shot a tournament-record 24-under 120 after opening with a 59.
Filbert and Smith needed every shot after Morin aced the 166-yard third hole at The Rookery at Marco with an 8-iron. The hole-in-one moved Morin, a PGA Assistant Professional at The Club at Ibis, and Collet, a PGA Assistant Professional at John’s Island Club, into the early lead after they shot 60 Monday.
When play was stopped for about 90 minutes because of lightning when Filbert and Smith were on the 12th hole, they got to find out where they stood against Morin-Collet, who were playing a different course.
“The delay was key because we found out we trailed by one, and that re-motivated us,” Filbert said. “I had started to rush things before the delay. We’ve come close before, so it’s nice to get this one under our belts.”
Smith, who won last month’s E-Z-GO South Florida Open with a birdie in a playoff, made sure there wouldn’t be extra holes Tuesday when he made a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
“We knew we had to do something stellar,” Smith said. “As we were walking to the 18th tee, we said we probably need to birdie the hole to win. And we did. I couldn’t be prouder of Andrew and myself.”
It was Morin’s second hole-in-one in competition, his ninth overall, and it came in unique fashion: From the tee, Morin thought the ball was inches away, but when they arrived at the green, they only saw three balls.
“I’m like, ‘Where’s my ball at?’” Morin said. “It was the weirdest thing. I must have fallen in when we were riding to the green.”
With the leaders playing different courses because of the luck of the draw, it also made for some unsettling moments.
“We didn’t know where we stood, so it was like, ‘Do we really need this? Or should we be aggressive on this hole?’ ” said Morin, who has been the South Florida PGA's Player of the Year 10 times. “It’s hard to think we shot 23 under and we didn’t win.”
Said Smith: “That’s because we shot 24-under.”
It was another eight shots back to third place at 15-under 129, with Patrick Rada of McArthur Club and Kenneth Leech of Don Law Academy (67) tying with Jeremy Wells of Cypress Lake Golf Club and Michael Welch of Bonita National Golf Club (63).
The Yamaha Pro-Pro Championship Presented by Callaway is run by the South Florida PGA. Supporting partners are BrightView, Dunning/Greg Norman, Golf Scorecards, Inc., Hole-in-One USA and Winner’s Award Group.