Southern California junior Kyle Suppa is in the midst of his best string of college golf, and like any successful amateur athlete, he can’t help but think about a professional career at times.
“It’s definitely something I think about quite a bit,” Suppa said Tuesday. “Being able to prepare my game once I leave school and be able to make it at a professional level.”
The 2016 Punahou alumnus was featured in Wednesday morning’s Hawaii Grown feature in the Star-Advertiser, which can be read here.
There are no plans for Suppa to leave USC early for the PGA Tour even though it’s been a dream of his since he started playing golf. Between now and then, his biggest goals are to win an individual tournament as well as a national team title for the Trojans. USC finished second in 2015, good for the highest finish in school history.
Suppa played in three events in a freshman. When he was a sophomore, he was just one of three Trojans to play in every event. Despite not winning an individual event thus far, his junior season has been off to a hot start.
In October, Suppa finished in a tie for seventh at the Golf Club of Georgia Invitational in Alpharetta, Ga. with a three-round total of 5-under 211. Then in November, he shot a 5-under 208 at the Saint Mary’s invitational at Pebble Beach, Calif., finishing in a tie for fourth among a field of over 100 golfers. USC won both team titles.
Last weekend, Suppa was back in his home state for the Amer Ari Invitational that ended Saturday on the same Waikoloa Kings’ Course where he won an HHSAA boys’ team championship with the Buffanblu in 2015. Suppa finished in a tie for 12th with a 7-under 209 with his mother in attendance for all three rounds.
“These last three tournaments I think have been my biggest highlight, being able to put three really solid tournaments together,” he said. “Being able to consistently play well has definitely been a big highlight.”
Being back in Hawaii last weekend was also a nice bonus, despite the Big Island’s contrasts from Oahu.
“It’s always fun to play that tournament back in Hawaii because I’ve played a Waikoloa a number of times growing up. I know a lot of people that work at the golf course,” he said. “The familiarity with the golf course and the climate definitely helps.
“The Big Island is still a bit different than Oahu. Saturday was our last round. It got a little windy in the afternoon, but nothing really crazy or anything. I saw the weather got pretty nasty on Sunday.”
Suppa is studying in USC’s Marshall School of Business, and he believes his business background will be beneficial regardless of how long his golf career lasts.
So there’s a lot on the line for Suppa in the near future. Finishing his degree in the next year or so is a given, but this season’s two major tournaments are looming. The Pac-12 championships are in Eugene, Ore. from April 22-24, while men’s nationals are from May 24-29 at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
The even-keeled Suppa seems more than adequately prepared for the challenges ahead.
“It’s just kind of using my time wisely, focusing on golf and school whenever I have the time to do each one and not letting outside things distract me,” he said. “But I still think it’s important to have a life outside of golf and school.
“I went to Punahou and it wasn’t too much of a jump school-wise to college. The curriculum in high school was still pretty tough, definitely comparable to here.”