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FEATURE: Eric Cole’s Loyalty Forever Links Him To Pittsburgh Golf



Photo credit: Pittsburgh Golf Now/Julia Wingard

DUBLIN, Ohio — Loyalty in golf is a topic which can be discussed but a lot of people can scrutinize, though both Eric Cole’s actions and words show just how important it that is for him.

Cole for a time wrestled between whether to play baseball or continue his golfing pursuits and aspirations but it was a 2014 stop in Pittsburgh to play the Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational which turned the pendulum in the proper direction to where he earned his PGA Tour card.

The $40,000 prize kept him going because he was running out of money to pursue his dreams and he admitted that he would “probably not be on the PGA Tour” without winning that event.

Last season was Cole’s first full year on the PGA Tour, and he compiled seven top-10 finishes, while twice finishing as a runner up, good for $5,457,030.

After The Travelers Championship when he tied for 24th place, Cole elected to come to Pittsburgh, but encountered issues with his flight which caused for the trip to take approximately eight-to-nine hours.

Despite the travel, Cole remembers being incredibly happy to be in Pittsburgh.

Cole played the event at Pittsburgh Field Club, triumphing by nine shots as he won the $20,000 prize but donated the winnings to the Fuhrer family so they could give it to charity.

“It was a great part of my professional career,” he recalled of the event. “I played that tournament a lot and it did a lot for me to be able to continue my dream of playing the PGA Tour, eventually getting out here, and to be able to give back a little bit on the back end hopefully helped some people out and seemed like the right thing to do.”

Having that loyalty is incredibly important to Cole and while he admitted it is nice when that works out, he was more focused on how important doing the right thing is to him.

“I think you’re much better served trying to do the right thing and hopefully it ends up working out for you,” observed Cole. “Even if it doesn’t, you can feel good about how you went out about it.”

Currently, he is securely in each of the eight signature events which will transpire this season and has one top-10 finish on the campaign.

Despite missing his last three cuts, Cole threatened to go low in Thursday’s Memorial Tournament first round as he was leading the event at 5-under before finishing play with a bogey and a double bogey, falling back three strokes.

Unfortunately, Cole got off to a challenging start with a bogey on his first hole and was 7-over par on his day, taking him a shot outside the cutline.

As he stood on the tee on the par-4 14, he discussed his options with caddie Reed Cochran, whose father Russ won 11 times professionally including once on the PGA Tour.

Ultimately it was determined that Cole would go for the green once the group in front consisting of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Shane Lowry completed the hole.

The result was a 358-yard drive to 18 feet, which he sank for an eagle. He coupled that with a 252-yard second shot which settled to 16 feet and another double circle.

“My score wasn’t good, so it was an opportunity to be aggressive,” Cole said of his approach to the 14th hole. “Figured if I hit it very good, I could get close to the green. I hit a good one and it turned out good. It’s always good to make eagles.”

Cole later stated that he talked with Cochran as to whether he had ever accomplished that on the PGA Tour (he had not) and that led him to recalling potentially doing so in a mini tour event in South Florida 10 years ago, but that memory was vague and led him to questioning if it truly happened.

According to PGA Tour media relations, it was the fourth time this has happened this season. With Adam Svenson doing it on the ninth and 10th holes in the fourth round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, Ryan Fox on 16 and 17 in the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship and most recently Taylor Pendrith accomplishing the feat on the fifth and sixth holes of his third round at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson.


As Justin Ray pointed out on social media, Cole’s two consecutive triumphs also were the first time in nine years at the Memorial Tournament when Jason Dufner eagled the 15th hole and then buried a hole in one on his next hole.

Cole will tee it up next week in the U.S. Open, his third start in said event and anticipates it will be a little different from his prior appearances.

Next year, the U.S. Open will be contested at Oakmont Country Club, which excited Cole because the stars have not aligned to this point for him to play there.

That has not stopped him from enjoying other Pittsburgh and surrounding area tracks.

“I played Latrobe, Laurel Valley, so outside of Pittsburgh,” Cole concluded. “I love the area and I love the golf courses I’ve played.”

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