Mar 26, 2019

Llanerch’s Covello collects first career Tour title

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Vince Covello, Tour

Llanerch’s Covello collects first career Tour title

Philadelphia native and Llanerch Country Club product Vince Covello took home his first career Tour victory, coming out victorious in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open at Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club in Broussard, La.

Covello, who finished at 19 under in regulation, defeated Justin Lower with a two-foot birdie conversion on the third playoff hole. That jarred putt earned Covello his first win in 80 tries.

“I still think of Philly as home, and growing up at Llanerch, the area just means so much to me.”

“It’s unbelievable,” said Covello, who previously had two Top-10 finishes in 79 career starts. “I wasn’t sure this day would ever come. It was certainly a crazy finish there at the end. I pulled everything out that I could and it ended up being enough.”

All three playoff holes were contested on Le Triomphe’s finishing hole, a 460-yard par 4. Covello started the playoff in trouble, pulling his drive left into the water, but stayed alive in result of a clutch up-and-down from 113 yards out, matching Lower’s par. Both players proceeded to make pars on their second try. On the third go around, Covello’s approach nestled up to two feet, and after Lower failed to make his birdie look, the Philadelphian put his in the bottom of the cup.

Covello made early heatwaves with a scorching 63 on Thursday, followed by a pair of 67s, and ultimately a 68 in the final 18. Covello’s Sunday showing earned him the top prize of $99,000 and vaulted him 64 places in the regular season point standings, good for 4th overall (563 points). The final Top-25 players will earn their PGA TOUR cards for 2020.

“I always felt like I was good enough to win, but you don’t know until you actually do it, until you prove it,” he said. “I proved it and I’m really proud of that. I’ve had a couple of wins on the mini-tour level, came close in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour, but this is definitely my biggest win to date.”

The 36-year-old’s ties to Philly run deep. He grew up learning and playing the game at Llanerch Country Club, in addition to competing on the GAP Junior circuit. This past May, Covello grabbed medalist honors in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier administered by GAP at Hidden Creek Golf Club, earning a seventh trip to U.S. Open Sectional qualifying.

Although now stationed in Jacksonville, Fla., Covello continues to rep the Philadelphia region any chance he gets. He ended his memorable day with a champion’s autograph equipped with the hashtag #PhillyStrong, and has been known to don a Philadelphia Eagles jersey during competition. Because of those unforgotten roots, cheers from his childhood fans and friends at Llanerch could be heard all throughout social media Sunday night.

“I still think of Philly as home, and growing up at Llanerch, the area just means so much to me. I’ve been gone along time, but there’s nothing like coming back to my roots at Llanerch. It brings me back to my childhood home,” he said. “The outreach has been amazing these past few days and the support has been incredible. It means the world knowing I have so many family and friends cheering me on.”

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