Cohen Trolio Likes To Play His Game

by Aaron Hyder
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Cohen Trolio Likes To Play His Game

Cohen Trolio has been surrounded by golf his whole life. His father, V.J., a PGA instructor. His uncle, Tim Yelverton, a PGA short game instructor. That has helped Cohen get to where he’s at today and where he will go in the future. He’s been hitting golf balls for as long as he can remember.

All that golf, and this week presents something new for Cohen. He’ll be teeing it up at his first ever PGA Tour tournament, as an amateur, in his home state of Mississippi as he’ll have the support of family and friends at the Country Club of Jackson. He’ll be one of 144 competitors in the field at the Sanderson Farms Championship which serves as the second event of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season.

“I’m looking forward to getting our there this week with the professionals,” Trolio said ahead of his PGA debut. “This week will be a bit different in some ways. I’m going to see guys I’ve watched on TV right next to me on the range, on the putting green.

“My game is good right now. I’m a very repetitive golfer. I work on the same things a lot. I try to perfect my swing and then repeat it.”

How did he make it into the PGA field as an 19-year-old you ask? Well lets rewind to a hot and steamy Sunday at the Mossy Creek Golf Club in late June. Mossy Creek was serving as the host to the 2021 Mississippi Amateur Championship, and Cohen had the lead after 54 holes of play. He had the lead by three on the final day, but by the 12th hole of the final round Cameron Clarke had pulled to within one.

“When you play with the lead, sometimes you just try and protect the lead,” Trolio noted. “After Cameron’s birdie on twelve, I kind of caught myself. Right then I switched to the mindset that I needed to put him away and play my game. And that’s what I did.”

Sure thing. Cohen answered with birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to push his lead back to three before closing it out with a birdie on the 18th for a winning score of 19-under 269. The win, deservedly so, earned him a bid into this week’s Sanderson Farms Championships. V.J., a well-respected golfer himself, had a brief professional career after his playing days at Southern Miss and actually Monday qualified into the then Southern Farm Bureau Classic in October of 1999. The Southern Farm Bureau Classic has since been renamed as the, you guessed it, Sanderson Farms Championship.

A native of West Point, Miss., Cohen couldn’t have picked a better tournament to make his PGA Tour debut at. Just two and a half hours from West Point is Jackson, Miss., and you better believe Cohen will have some fans in the crowd following him.

“It’s going to be cool with all the family there,” Cohen noted. “It’ll be a good vibe and it’s something that I’ll remember for a long time. I’ve played this course a bunch and my dad grew up really close to this course. I’m looking forward to a memorable week.”

The biggest question of the week – who’s going to be on the bag for Cohen? One would assume with family ties that it would be either his dad or uncle, but they’ve got work to do at the tournament, including additional practice work with Cohen. So Cohen has chosen to go with Kemp Hooper, who is well respected in the caddying realm.

“Kemp is Kevin Kisner’s back up caddy and I’ve known him for a while,” Cohen mentioned. “We have a good connection and he’s a good guy to have on the bag. He knows me relatively well so I’m looking forward to it.”

Some would think a young player making his PGA Tour debut might try to force the issue, but not Cohen. He’s comfortable with his game at the moment and he knows he’s capable of competing at a very high level

“I’m gonna keep it (the routine and play) the same,” Trolio says. “I know my good is good enough. I’m going to stick to what I’ve been doing well lately and have some fun.”

His words are just words, but he also has proof to back them up. He was the youngest golfer ever to make it to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst in 2019, and he earned runner up honors at the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship earlier this summer. He’s been tested on tough courses, he’s played in strong fields, and he’s played in front of big crowds on TV.

“I’m going to learn some things about myself after this event,” Trolio says. “Some will be good, some may be bad, but the most important thing is to learn from this opportunity. And I can’t wait to do that.”

Play begins Thursday for Cohen at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi. All info can be found at pgatour.com.