Young gun bites US bullet with college golf scholarship
AUSSIE teenager Luke Parker is eager to tackle the US college tour in an effort to make it to the big time.
The 18-year-old Peregian Springs Golf Club member has been offered a scholarship by the University of South Carolina Aiken and is finalising paperwork to get there later this year.
"I had been trying to decide whether to do Q School (for the US PGA Tour) or try and turn pro in Australia or go over to the States and play college golf and get into the American way of life," he said.
"Mum and Dad said why not try college golf, so I'm giving that a shot."
Parker is yet to sign the scholarship contract and complete the admission process, but says "we're about 90% through".
So unless things go pear-shaped, Parker will find himself in the US south-east, about 25km from one of the world's most famous courses, Augusta National
"It's pretty exciting. It is pretty nerve-racking, but it's something you've probably got to do it if you want to make it," he said.
"If you're worried about failing, then you won't get anywhere.
"It will be really good to go over there and get a good feel of what it's like in America, because if you want to go and play in the US PGA Tour you might as well get used to the place."
Parker is set to do a four-year business marketing course while following his golf dream.
He is expected to initially compete in division two of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
"I will probably turn professional straight after college, if not before that," he said.
"I'll have to wait and see how well I play while I'm at college and see if any opportunities pop up."
Parker certainly has the game to raise eyebrows in the States.
Blessed with a mean short game, the scratch handicapper was recognised as the Sunshine Coast's best junior player in 2011.
He has also impressed in his transition into the senior ranks, finishing in the top 30 at the Tasmanian Open earlier this year after sitting ninth at the halfway mark.
"My game has changed so much in the last two years," he said.
"Last year was a quiet year, so we just worked on my swing. This year is all about playing and getting it all together."