Texas teen Austin Connelly forgoes Arkansas to turn pro

Texas teen Austin Connelly forgoes Arkansas to turn pro

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Texas teen Austin Connelly forgoes Arkansas to turn pro

Austin Connelly won’t be in the lineup for Arkansas this fall as planned.

The 18-year-old from Irving, Texas, told Golfweek on Monday that he will make his professional debut at this week’s Great Waterway Classic on the Mackenzie Tour, formerly known as PGA Tour Canada.

“Arkansas is an amazing place, and (coach) Brad (McMakin) is such a great person,” Connelly said. “He’s been very accepting through this whole process. He wants what’s best for me, and he agrees with me that this is the right decision.”

Connelly, who signed with the Razorbacks last fall after de-committing from SMU, will make two other starts on the Mackenzie Tour: Sept. 3-6 at the Wildfire Invitational and Sept. 10-13 at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic.

“They were gracious enough to give me some starts, so I figured I’d take them,” Connelly said. He plans to play this fall in Web.com Tour Q-School, in which he is exempt into first stage, and said he has a few other undisclosed opportunities in the works.

Connelly was one of the top-ranked junior golfers in the Class of 2015 before focusing on amateur events this year. He won the Jones Cup Invitational in January and is No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He made two PGA Tour starts this season, making the cut in both: AT&T Byron Nelson Championship and RBC Canadian Open.

“Turning pro has definitely been a goal of mine for a long time,” said Connelly, who will be represented by Lagardère Unlimited. “I want to play the PGA Tour and be the No. 1 player in the world. As I’ve been going through this process, I had a really solid team behind me. … I determined that this is the route I want to take. My game is ready. I’m playing some really good golf; just need to stay patient.”

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