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US Amateur champion David Gossett turns pro

Despite missing the cut at this week's British Open, reigning U.S. Amateur champion David Gossett will leave with fond memories of St. Andrews.

On the grounds of the historic Old Course, Gossett today announced that will forgo his final two years of eligibility at the University of Texas and turn professional. He will make his pro debut in two weeks at the International in Castle Rock, Colorado.

"The home of the golf, the millennium Open," Gossett said about the site of his announcement. "It's been a fun year for me. I'm really excited to get out there and play some good golf. Now I have some time to focus on my game. It's 24-7 from now on."

It has been quite a 12-month period for the diminutive 21-year-old from Germantown, Tennessee.

He tied the largest victory margin in U.S. Amateur history by beating Sung Yoon Kim, 9 and 8, in last summer's event at Pebble Beach. That earned him a berth in the field at the Masters, where he played two rounds with then defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal, one with Jack Nicklaus and finished as low amateur.

Back at Pebble Beach for last month's U.S. Open, Gossett was again paired with Nicklaus for the first two rounds. Here at St. Andrews, he played with both Tiger Woods and Nick Price.

"Playing with Tiger and Nick really made it exciting," said Gossett, who was very impressed with Woods.

"I noticed he didn't make a bogey. Watching the way he approached each putt he needed to make. He didn't make most of them, he made every single one of them."

The play of Woods, 24, and 20-year-old Spaniard Sergio Garcia contributed to Gossett's decision to turn pro.

"I'm really encouraged by the way they played," the two-time All-America selection said. "I played with them in amateur golf and junior golf and held my own. I beat them my fair share."

Gossett becomes the latest member of the University of Texas fraternity to turn pro, joining fellow Longhorns Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Bob Estes and Justin Leonard to name just a few. Before deciding to leave the Austin campus after his sophomore year, Gossett sought them out for advise.

"They said, 'Hook'em horn, have fun,'" Gossett said. "They were all supportive. The realize that golf is changing. It's getting younger. You don't have to be 30 to play good golf. They encourage me to follow my heart and live my dream."

That dreams begins in two weeks. In addition to the International, he's also received PGA Tour exemptions into the Reno-Tahoe Open, Air Canada Championship and Texas Open.


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