15-Year-OId Golfer To Compete In PGA Event

November 6, 2023 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Oliver Betschart was just seven years old when he hit his first hole-in-one, and this week the 15-year-old will become the youngest player to compete in a PGA Tour event since 2014 when he tees off in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

It happened on May 11, 2016, on the 148-yard, par 3, third hole at Port Royal Golf Course, where Betschart has honed his substantial talent since first swinging a chopped-down adult club at age five.

It was a pivotal moment in the youngster’s life. It was the moment he fell in with the sport.

“I remember one day my brother Benjamin and I were out playing a round together at Port Royal and reached hole three,” Betschart told Bernews.

“I was hitting off the red tees with the driver and had my first hole-in-one.

“That’s when I realised this is what I want to do with my life. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.”

Oliver Betschart Bermuda Nov 6 2023

On Thursday, slightly more than seven years since his first hole-in-one, Betschart will become the youngest player to compete in a PGA Tour event since 2014 when he tees off in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship on his home course.

He will also be the second 15-year-old Bermudian to play in the event after Kenny Leseur, who was six months older when he qualified in 2019.

“It was at the back of my mind to beat his [Leseur’s] record as the youngest Bermudian to play in the event,” said Betschart, who qualified after finishing tied for second in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship Local Qualifier at Port Royal last month.

“It’s a little surreal having this opportunity, but it’s slowly sinking in.”

Betschart admits he felt he had “something to prove” after agonisingly missing out on qualification for the PGA event last year by a single shot.

“I came close last year, but knowing I can compete with these guys and keep up with them was helpful,” he said.

“I had the whole year to prepare for the qualifiers; thankfully, I got it done.”

The local prodigy, who underscored his potential by becoming the youngest player to win the Port Royal Golf Club Championship last year, expects a few nerves when he tees off in front of the home crowd alongside fellow Bermudians Eric West, Scott Roy, and Michael Sims.

He has, however, taken valuable lessons from when caddying for local professional Camiko Smith, who carded a six-under 29 on the back nine during the second round of the PGA Tour event two years ago.

Smith became only the third player to achieve the feat in the tournament’s history.

“When I caddied for Camiko, I learned the importance of staying focused,” said Betschart, who won the Spring Break Classic on the Southern Texas PGA Junior Golf Tour in March.

“That first round, he wasn’t completely focused and was interacting with the fans.

“Once the second round came, he talked with his coach and had his 29 on the back nine. He really dialled in there.

“I’ll talk to the supporters after the round. It’s not about being rude; it’s about focusing on your round.”

When Betschart looks down the fairway on hole one, he might take a moment to reflect on his golf journey, which started as a five-year-old under the guidance of Bermuda’s greatest golfer, Kim Swan, at Port Royal.

“My older brother used to take lessons from Mr Swan, and I was always there watching and wanted to play,” Betschart said.

“I remember Mr Swan cutting down an adult club for me and letting me swing alongside my brother when he was having lessons.

“He was a great coach to get started with, and I learned all the basics from him.”

Although Betschart, who has lofty ambitions in the game, will be stepping into unfamiliar territory this week, he will feel more than at home at the Robert Trent Jones-designed course.

“Playing at Port Royal should definitely be an advantage,” he added. “It’s where I practise, and I have plenty of knowledge of the course.”

click here banner golf

Read More About

Category: All, News, Sports

Leave a Reply