Canton's Donnie Trosper finishes last in PGA Tour debut, but learns a lot
Detroit — You can simply look at the leaderboard, notice Donnie Trosper finished dead last, and wonder if he has what it takes to eventually make it on the PGA Tour.
Then you can ask yourself this question: How many PGA Tour events have you played? Exactly.
This was Trosper's first, and while the results left plenty to be desired, he did learn two things about himself.
One: "I need to definitely get stronger physically, and a little bit mentally."
And two: "Now I can see I can do it, because now I've done it."
Trosper, 23, the Canton native and Michigan State alum, was making the short drive back home Friday, after missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. He shot rounds of 78 and 77, after earning a spot in the field at Monday's qualifier at Oakland University's Katke-Cousins course in Rochester.
He had some high hopes for his PGA Tour debut — he's never even played a Korn Ferry Tour event, for that matter — but eventually got it going the wrong way, and couldn't stop the avalanche of bogeys or, worse, the dreaded doubles and "others."
Trosper likely will finish 155th out of 155 players who completed two rounds. The field began with 157, but two players withdrew.
But the experience will have a lasting impact. At least, it should.
"The thing with me, when I'm over par, I tend to go more over par," said Trosper, who had a decorated junior career, once winning four AJGA tournaments in a single summer — a feat only ever bested by one person, and matched by the likes of golf icons Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. "If I'm under par, and get off to a good start, like 4 under, then it's easy.
"It was like I was going against the grain. It's never good to go against the grain."
Trosper was one of three players in this week's field at Detroit Golf Club, with two missing the cut. The other is PGA Tour player Ryan Brehm, a Traverse City resident and another former Spartan who finished 2 under in his first tournament on the PGA Tour since the restart in early June.
Brian Stuard (Oakland/Jackson) is in contention, after a Friday 67 got him to 9 under.
Also in contention is Trosper's playing partner the first two rounds, young gun Cameron Champ, who was at 7 under at the halfway point. Champ was the last man in the field, getting the call Wednesday night that the PGA Tour was updating its COVID-19 policy, letting back to golf players who test positive but are asymptomatic, so long as they have multiple negative follow-up tests, at least 24 hours apart.
That altered Trosper's tee time for Thursday, pushing it back 10 minutes so he could play with Champ.
Champ missed his first four PGA Tour cuts after turning pro in 2017.
"We talked more today," Trosper said. "He was saying at the end that he didn't finish well in his first PGA Tour event, either. He said he was kind of (bleeping) his pants."
Champ, for his part, was complimentary of Trosper following his opening round Thursday.
"He hits it very well, does everything well," said Champ, who is in the hunt heading to the weekend for a second consecutive year at Detroit Golf Club. "You definitely can tell maybe he was nervous, maybe he wasn't, but some days that's just how it goes.
"He definitely is a good player."
Trosper got off to a well-enough start in his opening round, making birdie on his third hole to get under par, but disaster struck on the next hole when he got trapped in the rough and made a triple-bogey 7.
He was able to claw his way back to even par, but he never again saw red numbers. He closed his opening round with two double bogeys in his last three holes.
On Friday, he again was 1 under on his round, this time through 7, but a three-putt bogey at the ninth left him with a sour taste, and he never recovered. The back nine featured five bogeys, no birdies, for a 41.
In the end, Trosper said the heat could've gotten to him, particularly in the afternoon Thursday, or maybe the sheer amount of golf he has played lately left him exhausted by the time he teed off in his PGA Tour debut. By the end of Friday's round, he had played every day for a week.
Still, while he was going home earlier than he had hoped, and didn't get to collect a paycheck, it was a memorable experience, especially seeing a rising star like Champ up close. He called the bunker shot Champ holed for birdie to close his Thursday round the "best shot I've ever seen."
Next up for Trosper: More qualifiers, starting with the Monday qualifier for next week's Workday Charity Open in Dublin, Ohio, the first of two consecutive PGA Tour tournaments that will be held at Muirfield Village.
"I know what I need to do to prepare for my next one, and I just need to work harder," Trosper said. "The overall experience was a 10 out of 10; how I played was a one out of 10.
"Hey, you've gotta start somewhere."