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Chris Wood to turn professional

By ALISTAIR TAIT
Senior Writer

British Open silver medal winner Chris Wood has decided to turn professional, less than a week after saying he had no plans to leave the amateur game.

The 20-year-old Englishman finished tied for fifth in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, and then announced he was taking a week off to rest up for the English Amateur Championship at Woodhall Spa.

However, after several meetings with management companies in the aftermath of his Birkdale success, Wood has withdrawn from his national championship to prepare for life as a tour pro.

Ten years ago, Englishman Justin Rose finished off a similarly improbable British Open week at Royal Birkdale by pitching in for eagle at No. 18 to finish tied for fourth place. Rose was just 11 days shy of his 18th birthday, but turned professional the following day.

Wood spent a day this week playing in the company of Andrew “Chubby” Chandler, and is likely to sign with Chandler’s International Sports Management company, although he has not yet signed terms.

Wood played with Chandler and ISM player Darren Clarke at Wentworth July 24.

“I have had interest from other management companies apart from ISM and will have a couple more meetings before a final decision is made,” Wood told the Bristol Evening Post newspaper.

Wood is likely to make his professional debut at the SAS Masters in Stockholm, which begins Aug. 14.

He is allowed seven sponsor exemptions on the European Tour this year, during which time he must at least match the earnings of the final qualifying player on last season’s Order of Merit to earn full exempt status for the remainder of the season.

Otherwise, he will have to attend qualifying school in Spain in November.

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