Paolini 'blessed' after first professional win
For the past few years, young American players like Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein have made a trend out of starting their pro careers on the Challenge Tour. Brinson Paolini is the latest to attempt to earn a tour card in Europe.
Paolini, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., planned on staying amateur throughout the summer, but was granted a sponsor exemption into the Swiss Challenge, played July 11-14, and hasn’t looked back since. He tied for second that week, tied for 25th the next week at the Mugello Tuscany Open before his break-out victory at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge on July 28.
“I am blessed and very fortunate,” Paolini said.
After winning the Virginia Amateur, the recent Duke graduate was interested in getting a start in Europe. He got a sponsor exemption into the Swiss Challenge before learning about his exemption into the Mylan Classic. Right then, he knew it was time to turn pro.
He was fortunate to play well enough in Switzerland, his first professional event, to be exempt into the following week’s Tuscany Open. Paolini got one more sponsor exemption into the Le Vaudreuil Challenge and that’s where it paid off.
“I had so much confidence in my game, and belief that I could play out there,” Paolini said after the Virginia Amateur. “It was the icing on the cake.”
Now, he’s traveling around the world and chasing his dream of becoming a professional golfer. When he’s at golf tournaments, Paolini likes to get his mind off the game, so traveling and seeing cities like Tuscany, Paris and Florence are a welcome distraction from the golf course.
The plan after the Mylan Classic this week is go back to Europe, since he now has full status on the Challenge Tour. His next event is the Norwegian Challenge, and he will play the last eight events on the Challenge Tour to accomplish his goal of getting his European Tour card at the end of the year. If not, he’ll stay on the Challenge Tour next season.
Even though this is Paolini’s fourth competitive week in a row, he still feels confident about his game. Jet lag aside, he couldn’t think of a better opportunity to play stateside.
“Golf is a game of momentum, and if I can keep it going, I could win here this week,” Paolini said.