McKINNEY, Texas (KTRK) — Even though the weather was humid, the tempo of play was slow, and the audiences were sparse, Kyle Wilshire had a fantastic day on Thursday.
He couldn’t help himself. Because it matched his practice schedule, the former University of Central Florida standout worked as a trash porter for less than two years, collecting trash at an apartment complex.
After qualifying for the first time on the PGA Tour on Monday, the former Korn Ferry Tour player lit up TPC Craig Ranch on Thursday, shooting a 7-under 65 to sit at the top of the leaderboard after the opening day of play. At TPC Craig Ranch, when Harry Higgs, Xander Schauffele, Danny Willett, and others failed to break par, Wilshire concluded with birdies on four of his final five holes to take a comfortable lead.
Wilshire spent time on the Mackenzie Tour and made 22 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017 after a great college career in which he lead UCF to a conference title in 2010-11, two NCAA Regional berths, and two NCAA Championship appearances. He’s battled injuries, including repeated knee operations, but he never lost faith in his ability to compete with the best in the world.
“I just always told myself that you get out what you put in,” he said. “It wasn’t fun when I was performing my job, but I made the best of it and turned it into an opportunity to get better and just tried to have the correct mindset.”
“I believe I’ve accomplished it now. The remainder of my life is in order, and I’m in a good place; all I have to do now is take advantage of the possibilities that come my way.”
Wilshire missed the cut in the RSM Classic, but had a solid two-day score of 1 over. He finished tied for 62nd in his only other start, the 2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship. According to the Official World Golf Ranking, he is currently number 1,616, but he has continued to improve his game despite the pandemic, even if it meant taking up a challenging job.
He explained, “My girlfriend’s apartment complex advertised a space for some nighttime work, and COVID there was nothing really going on other than a tiny mini-tour in Florida.” “I had no desire to work in an office.” I wanted to continue working on my game in the evenings, between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m.
“It wasn’t the most glamorous job, but it didn’t humble me; instead, it allowed me to improve my game.” For four months, I did it. It maintained me in good shape and made me a little tougher, I believe. It made me appreciate the chance to play.”
230-yard par 3.
Kyle Wilshire rattles it off the flagstick 💥 pic.twitter.com/ioKytV8Ld4
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 12, 2022
That’s why, even in the sweltering heat of North Texas, Wilshire smiled as he completed his round. He’s determined to relish every moment of his time on the big stage after a road that has taken many twists and turns. Regardless of how long it lasts.
“Out here, you just don’t take anything for granted.” This week on the PGA Tour, you’ll be driving a fresh new Cadillac. You’re eating the best food, and the facilities are top-notch. You have club companies looking after you. “I’ve never had anything like that before,” he explained.
“I’d always dreamed and thought that I could get to this level.” I’ve had a unique road compared to many others, but I’m grateful to be here.”