Local Teaching Pro Among NW Quartet at PGA Championship
Semiahmoo’s Jeff Coston may not have the PGA Tour cachet of fellow Home Teamers Kyle Stanley and Ryan Moore — but come 9:10 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, the local teaching pro will have an equal shot at a major championship.
When the national media makes its picks for this week’s PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, S.C., they’ll almost certainly ride the chalk — Luke Donald, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood … and we haven’t even mentioned defending champion Keegan Bradley. With every single one of the top-100 ranked players in the world entered in the same tournament for the first time this year, it might take a while for those listing likely favorites to make their way to Jeff Coston.
And that’s just fine with him.
The 56-year-old teaching professional at Blaine’s Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club became one of the final entrants in the field in June, placing sixth at the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside, Calif. The top-20 finishers at the event earned exemptions to this week’s PGA Championship, which means that — for the second year in a row — Coston will likely be the oldest player in the field when the pegs are stuck into the ground on Thursday morning.
If he’s fazed by it, though, you’d be hard-pressed to tell.
“Pride is a big thing for me,” Coston said following June’s National Championship. “I’m not a spectator, I’m a participant. It’s fun for my golf academy, folks at Semiahmoo, family and friends. Being in shape is important. I’m trying to hold off Father Time for as long as I can.”
Coston, who was featured in the June 2011 isssue of Cascade Golfer, fired 76-73 in the first two rounds of last year’s PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, missing the cut by five strokes. The Seattle University alum spent eight years on the mini-Tours and another four mixing it up with the big boys in the late ’80s and early ’90s, his best finish a tie for seventh in 1988. Since becoming a full-time teacher at Semiahmoo, he has become a force in local and regional events, and holds the record for the most major championships won in the history of the PGA Pacific Northwest Section.
Still, he told CG’s Tony Dear last year that nothing has meant more to him than walking up the fairway on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach with his son, Tyler, on his bag.
“It was Father’s Day and as we walked towards the green Tyler said to me, ‘You and me, Pebble Beach, the U.S. Open,’” Coston recalled. “I stood over my 15-foot birdie putt, saw the head of my putter move through the ball, and then I heard it drop into the hole. I walked off the green with my son happier than if I had won the tournament.”
This week, Coston will have another chance to create a memory against the best golfers in the world — Woods, Donald, McIlroy and, of course, a few of his fellow Home Teamers, including Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley, Puyallup native Ryan Moore and UW alum Corey Prugh.
Check out the complete field at PGATour.com, then let us know who you like to win! I think you can tell who we’re backing — from Semiahmoo to South Carolina.