“I’m working as hard as I can to get to the PGA Tour.”

Austin Connelly

Parents members at Hackberry Creek Country Club, Irving, Texas, since 1994


Who he is: No. 1 in the Junior Golf Scoreboard Rankings and No. 13 in the Men’s World Amateur Golf Rankings at press time, the 18-year-old says he has had a golf club in his hand since he began walking.

In the spotlight: In September, he was one of 12 juniors on Team USA at the Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland. “It’s really special to represent your country and compete for something greater than yourself.”

Highlight reel: On the first day of the tournament, he sank a 75-foot putt that set the pace for an eventual fourth-consecutive win by the Americans at the Junior Ryder Cup. “It was an amazing feeling, something you can’t describe,” he says about the head-turning putt that ESPN’s SportsCenter featured.

Turning point: Connelly chalks up his success to his coach, Cameron McCormick, who also works with 21-year-old Masters runner-up Jordan Spieth. “Since I switched to [McCormick], I’ve gone to a completely different level. The way he communicates things to me just works. I trust him 100 percent with my golf game.”

Why golf? “I’ve never been a big team sport guy. I like to know that [the outcome is] on me, and if I want better results, I have to get better.”

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