Kyle Wilshire was playing golf in Shawnee, Oklahoma, last week on the All Pro Tour, where he finished T-2 and was rewarded with a check for $8,000. He now finds himself near the top of the leaderboard on the PGA Tour after Monday qualifying into the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Wilshire’s first-round 7-under 65 was highlighted by a near ace at the 230-yard par-3 seventh hole, which ricocheted off the flagstick to just more than 3 feet for an easy birdie.
230-yard par 3.
Kyle Wilshire rattles it off the flagstick 💥 pic.twitter.com/ioKytV8Ld4
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 12, 2022
Wilshire, who turned pro in 2014 out of UCF, is making just his third career start on Tour, with the other two coming in the fall of 2021 and featuring a missed cut and a T-62. He was in fourth place when he signed his card on Thursday, five back of leader Sebastian Munoz.
It hasn’t been an easy road for the 29-year-old, who had knee surgery in 2018, didn’t play well in 2019 and then wound up taking a job as a trash porter in the evenings when golf was shut down during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.
“I wanted to continue to work on my game, and this was in the evening times from 6:00 sometimes to 11:00 at night,” Wilshire said. “It wasn't the most glamourous job, but I wouldn't say it humbled me, but allowed me to work on my game. I did it for four months. It kept me in good shape and I just think it made me a little tougher. Made me just appreciate the opportunity to play.”
Gratitude was certainly a theme for Wilshire after his stellar round Thursday at TPC Craig Ranch, as he alluded to some of the perks of playing on the PGA Tour.
“When you're out here, it's just not taking things for granted,” Wilshire said. “When you play on the PGA Tour, you're driving a brand new Cadillac this week. You're eating the best food, it's the best facilities. You got club companies taking care of you. I've never had that before.”
He doesn’t currently have status on any major tour and has essentially been bouncing back-and-forth from Monday qualifiers to mini tours, but a first-round 65 has put him in position to turn this into a life-changing week, and he knows it.
“I just always hoped I'd get to this level and believed that I could,” Wilshire said. “The journey has been a little bit different than a lot of people, but I'm blessed to be here. The opportunity is right in front of me, so I'm excited.”