With guidance from Spieth, Connelly turns pro
August 26, 2015
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Austin Connelly came to his decision with a little help from World No. 1 Jordan Spieth. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
KINGSTON, Ontario – Celebrated amateur Austin Connelly has decided to forgo a collegiate career at the University of Arkansas and will turn professional.
The 18-year-old from Irving, Texas – who has dual citizenship with Canada, and was a member of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team – will make his professional debut Thursday at the Mackenzie Tour–PGA TOUR Canada’s Great Waterway Classic.
Connelly told PGATOUR.COM on Tuesday night that he had been thinking about turning professional since he made his TOUR debut at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May. He made the 36-hole cut but not the 54-hole cut (MDF) at that tournament – one he grew up watching – and also MDF at the RBC Canadian Open in July.
Connelly said he talked over his decision with some fellow TOUR professionals, including two-time major champion (and long-time friend) Jordan Spieth.
“We definitely had a conversation, and he helped guide me through the process,” said Connelly, who has signed with Spieth’s management company Lagardère Unlimited.
Connelly is exempt through the pre-qualifying for Web.com Tour Q-School because of his two made cuts on the PGA TOUR this year.
He said he will be playing the Wildfire Invitational Sept. 3-6 and the Cape Breton Classic Sept. 10-13 on the Mackenzie Tour. Only the top-60 on the money list get into the season-ending Freedom 55 Financial Championship, and he is hoping to get into second stage via some strong play on the Mackenzie Tour in order to play either Deerwood Golf Club in Kingwood, Texas or Plantation Preserve Golf Club in Plantation, Florida – two clubs he feels comfortable on.
“I knew my path was not going to be by the traditional route. I felt it was time to be a full-time golfer,” Connelly explained. “I feel like my game is already good enough to be out here, it’s just a matter of taking advantage of opportunities.”
Connelly won the prestigious Jones Cup in January and was 18th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings before turning professional. He lost in the first round of the U.S. Amateur last week, but said if he had made it to the finals, he would have stayed an amateur in order to participate in the Masters.
“That’s too good an opportunity to pass up,” he said.
Connelly has aligned with some undisclosed sponsors, and said he has some other opportunities in the works after the Mackenzie Tour season has completed.
“At some of the amateur events, you find yourself bored. It’s such an incredible atmosphere on TOUR and on the amateur circuit sometimes you’re not playing in front of anybody, even though you’re playing these incredible course,” Connelly said. “Once you get a taste of the TOUR, that’s where you want to be.”
Austin Connelly makes a 13-foot birdie putt at RBC Canadian