Every time Andrew Filbert started a round this year, he was reminded of what he accomplished in 2017: “Now on the tee, the reigning South Florida PGA Player of the Year …”
Filbert knew what was coming next.
“A lot of ribbing,” Filbert said. “They’re all like, ‘You shouldn’t be out here. You should be on the PGA Tour.’ I would just smile.”
Filbert enjoyed the last laugh by repeating as the 2018 Player of the Year. He became just the fifth player to repeat since 1980, joining Roger Kennedy, Bruce Fleisher, Lee Rinker and Alan Morin (who has done it three times).
Joke away, guys.
“Coming into the season, I put a lot of pressure on myself – I felt like I had to win o finish in the top three every week,” Filbert said. “It meant a lot to me to win Player of the Year again. It validated I can play and compete against these guys.”
Filbert got his season off to a rousing start when he shot a final-round 66 to come from six shots back and win the Fort Lauderdale Open for the second consecutive year.
That was his only win of the season, but his consistency kept him atop the standings. He had a pair of runner-up finishes and tied for third in the South Florida PGA Professional Championship to edge Justin Bertsch by 98 points.
“I’d rather be a consistent player,” said Filbert, who recently took a PGA Assistant Professional job at Royal Poinciana in Naples. “I love the way Matt Kuchar plays. He’s always in it, always making the weekend. I’d rather play that way than have the ups and downs of Phil Mickelson.”
The best perk about winning the South Florida PGA’s POY is he gets a spot in the Honda Classic at PGA National. Filbert hasn’t made a cut in two career PGA Tour starts, but he learned a lot about his game.
“I was able to find some weaknesses in my game that I didn’t know existed,” he said. “You definitely feel different nerves when you’re playing in a PGA Tour event. But having gone through that experience, I think I’ll be able to do a better job of focusing on golf and everything that surrounds it.”
Filbert says he constantly thinks about giving the PGA Tour a try, but has yet to enter q-school. At 31, he knows his clock is ticking.
“I don’t know if you’re ever going to feel you’re ready,” Filbert said. “I just need to find the right sponsor.”
Meantime, he knows what they’ll be saying about him on the first tee next year: South Florida PGA Player of the Year.