Connelly considers pro, Walker Cup options after U.S. Amateur loss

Connelly considers pro, Walker Cup options after U.S. Amateur loss

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Connelly considers pro, Walker Cup options after U.S. Amateur loss

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Austin Connelly was the higher seed in Wednesday’s Round-of-64 match at the 2015 U.S. Amateur but lost to Maverick McNealy, 1 up, at Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course.

The match went the distance, as expected, but it was McNealy’s day. McNealy, a Stanford junior from Portola Valley, Calif., started it by making par on his second ball at the par-5 first, turning a likely 1-down outcome into all square and making a statement early.

For Connelly, it may be the end of his amateur career. In November, he signed a letter of intent to attend Arkansas, but instead the 18-year-old is going to Web.com Q-School with the hopes of playing professionally next year.

The only thing that would keep Connelly an amateur would be an invitation to next month’s Walker Cup matches.

But that would be tricky from many perspectives.

After winning the Jones Cup earlier this year, Connelly looked into whether he even was eligible for the Walker Cup and found that he was, according to the International Golf Federation.

Connelly, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, was born in Irving, Texas, to an American mother and Canadian father. Connelly has received support from the Canadian golf authorities during his career and wore Canadian logos during the U.S. Amateur.

“Technically, I’m eligible,” Connelly said of the Walker Cup, “even though the USGA was never clear with me once I kind of of got in the Walker Cup contention.”

In 2014, Connelly played for the U.S. in the Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland. He remains noncommittal for another American team match.

Five of the 10-man U.S. team already has been selected. With a solid group of contenders here this week, plus two slots reserved for mid-amateurs, Connelly’s chances appear to be slim, at best.

“I’m playing for Canada right now,” Connelly said. “It depends. I would have to talk to some people. I would obviously love to play.”

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