Could this be the last we see of Austin Connelly as an amateur?
Austin Connelly
Austin Connelly
Story by Alex Miceli of Golfweek

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.

Austin Connelly lost to Maverick McNealy during the round of 64 at the U. S. Men's Amateur at Olympia Fields in Olympia Fields, Ill.It was a good match and was expected to go down to the wire, but it was McNealy’s day. McNealy 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 the University of 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 a Walker Cup invitation.

But that would be tricky from many different perspectives.

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

Connelly, a duel citizen, was born in Irving, Texas, and while his mother is American, his father is Canadian and Connelly has received support from the Canadian golf authorities during his career, and even during the U.S. Amateur wore Canadian logos in support of the country north of the border.

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

In 2014, Connelly did play for the USA on the Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland, but if asked to play on the Walker Cup, Connelly is noncommittal.

Maybe partly because five of the 10-man team has already been selected and with a solid group to pick from still in the mix this week, and with two mid-Am’s to be selected as well, Connelly’s chances are 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.”

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online, starting the third week in April at www.usga.org.

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