Jeremy Paul will leave school early, as the Colorado senior announced Monday that he has decided to turn professional ahead of this week’s Web.com Tour event.
The United Leasing & Finance Championship, which begins April 20 in Newburgh, Ind., will mark his professional debut.
Paul, of Viernheim, Germany, previously made it the final stage of 2016 Web.com Tour Q-School after passing through the first two stages and was in position to earn his tour card there by finishing in the top 45 and ties. But Paul closed in 3-over 75 to drop 46 spots to a tie for 72nd.
He expressed understandable disappointment after that tough final round. Ultimately, it seemed he would finish out his senior season at Colorado before turning to pro golf.
But Paul did earn limited status for his showing at Q-School and accepted a sponsor exemption for this week’s event to start his Web.com Tour membership and pro career.
“Jeremy has determined turning pro at this time is in the best interest for his budding professional golf career,” Colorado head coach Roy Edwards said in a release. “We respect his decision. He has a tremendous future in front of him.”
Paul is still set to graduate from Colorado next month with a degree in Operations Management, but he leaves the team with the biggest part of the season beckoning. The Buffaloes will host the Pac-12 Championship, which starts April 28, and then NCAA Regionals await.
Colorado, ranked 23rd by Golfweek, also looked to be in its best position yet to return to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2002.
This season, Jeremy Paul was part of a three-headed attack that included twin brother Yannik and Ethan Freeman. All three ranked in the top 130 in the country, with Yannik at No. 114, Freeman at No. 117 and Jeremy at No. 128. This marks a sizable blow for a team that has seen a significant rise in 2016-17 and is now losing one of its three best players.
The departing Jeremy spoke fondly about his time at Colorado. And he believes the team can rally in his absence.
“My time at the University of Colorado has been a great journey, and it’s hard to believe that the four years have already come to an end,” Paul said. “When I joined the university in the fall of 2013, I did not really know what to expect and how everything would turn out, as the U.S. can be quite different from Europe. But the community and people in Boulder are just fantastic and made me feel (at) home quickly.
“It has obviously been a tough decision leaving the team a few weeks early, but I believe we have a deep team this year and someone will for sure step up and fill my spot. With that being said, I truly believe that the team will have a great chance winning the Pac-12 championship and also making a move at NCAAs.”
Aside from Q-School, Paul boasts experience in professional tournaments in Europe. He made the cut at the European Tour’s BMW International Open in 2016, placing T-56 for the week.
Yannik, technically the younger brother, also played in that event, missing the cut. Yannik nearly turned pro early himself, taking a year off from the team in 2015-16 as he thought he would go the paid route at that point. But he was still an amateur as he failed to make it to the final stage of 2015 European Tour Q-School. That, along with an inflamed right wrist that forced him to stow away his clubs for a month, were factors that helped lead him back to Colorado for 2016-17. After missing last season, Yannik is currently a junior.
The elder Paul, meanwhile, leaves Colorado having set or tied 24 school records. The departing senior led the team in scoring average each of his first three seasons and he became the first Buffalo since 2009 to make an All-America team (he earned honorable mention honors) after a 2015-16 season that saw him post a 70.66 scoring average – a new single-season school record.
Paul’s 71.72 career scoring average is also a school record – by more than a stroke (Kane Webber held the previous mark at 72.9). Paul won three times in college.
He tied for 40th last weekend at The Maxwell, his final college event.
“We applaud (Jeremy) on a great CU career,” Edwards said. “Jeremy leaves CU as one of the most decorated players in our history, and who seemingly always played well when his team needed it the most. The records he holds are mind-boggling at times and those marks will be great targets for future Buffs to try and achieve.
“He was a pleasure to coach and he has no bigger fans than his Colorado Golf family.”
– Information from Colorado University Athletics was used in this report