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By JASON BROWN
Mahomet Citizen sportswriter
Since childhood, Seth Trolia wanted to become a professional golfer.
So the 2011 Mahomet-Seymour graduate used his talent to earn a scholarship to golf at Bradley University, where he earned a degree in Business Management and Leadership.
But Trolia did not rush into the workforce. Instead, he did what he has always wanted to do.
In June of 2015, he turned professional and that winter moved down to Orlando, where he stayed with his grandparents for six months to play golf.
In August of 2016, Trolia picked up everything, and he and his girlfriend, Brooklyn Hildreth, moved to Orlando to chase his dream of playing on the PGA tour.
“It was very nerve-wracking, but having someone down here with me, who is rooting for me, who I can come back to the apartment and talk to about my round makes things easier,” he said. “Also knowing that I have a big support group back in Illinois cheering me on and keeping tabs on me is very nice.”
Trolia is currently a member of the West Florida Golf Tour.
He competes in one-to-three day events classified as mini-tours, and he plays a few tournaments on the Florida Professional Golf Tour.
He has played in 34 professional events (as of last week) and has racked up ten top-10 finishes and eight top-20.
On the West Florida Golf Tour, he took 14th with a one under par at the Tampa Palms tournament and second place with six-under par at the 2017 Hillsborough County Championship.
Trolia has a pretty set routine when he has full-day practices.
“I get to the course in the morning and head to the range, where I hit anywhere from 150-200 golf balls for three hours,” he said. “Then I head to the practice green and work on putts 10 feet and end with a few of my favorite drills (about one hour) then lunch, then back to the putting green for speed control and lag putting (for one hour), then to the short game area where I can practice any shot from 50 yards and in and bunker shots (for two hours).”
Though a few friends and family members have donated money to his cause, he has no true sponsor yet, and with buy-ins to each tournament ranging from $200-$2,500 dollars, the finances can get tough.
But one thing Trolia has been able to count on since moving to Orlando is the support he receives from his family and friends.
“I was always known for having a pretty good-sized gallery following me at college and high school, so family and friends knew how much golf meant to me,” he said.
“So when I decided to turn professional in June of 2015, I had everyone’s full support, and I wouldn’t be the person and player I am today if it weren’t for my family’s love and support.”
His girlfriend, an occupational therapist assistant, helps with living expenses, and Trolia works a couple days a week at a local country club in Trinity, Fla.
“She knows what kind of time commitment this lifestyle has and has been very gracious through it all,” he said. “Definitely couldn’t be where I am today without her support.”
The country club work allows him to practice for free and gives him a few dollars that helps with practice rounds and gas to and from tournaments.
His earliest support came from Trolia’s father, Jeff, who is a huge player and fan of golf himself.
Jeff Trolia put a plastic club in Trolia’s hand at the age of two or three, and Trolia grew up practice-swinging and hitting balls in the back yard.
“I started my competitive golf career when I was five in a tournament in Decatur,” he said. “I grew up playing on the par three course at Lake of the Woods, which felt like a regulation-size course for me when I was little. It was good practice and really helped my golf game as I grew older.”
Trolia, who had lived in Mahomet his entire life until he moved to Orlando, is enjoying the 80-degree weather and constant sun, but traffic is something he is still getting used to.
“Going from only a handful of stop lights in Mahomet and then getting down here, and it taking an hour to go 25 miles, is a big difference,” he said.
At Mahomet-Seymour High School, he was a four-time letter winner, four-time all-conference selection and four-time team MVP. In his senior year, the Bulldogs won the IHSA Class 2A State golf tournament. He was named to the all-state team.
While at Bradley, he finished his first collegiate tournament as Bradley’s top finisher. He would retain the No. 1 position for the remainder of his career, constantly going against other team’s best players.
In four years, he competed in every match setting several school records and finishing toward the top in almost all statistical categories in school history.
His is the son of Kim and Jeff Trolia of Mahomet, and his younger sister, Emily, is a sophomore at Ole Miss studying engineering.
To follow Trolia’s progress, check out his website at www.sethtroliagolf.wordpress.com.