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Ryan Moore turns professional at Barclays Classic

The world's top amateur Ryan Moore will make his professional debut in the Barclays Classic at the Westchester Country Club starting on Thursday.

Moore finished his amateur career on Sunday with a tie for 57th at the U.S. Open but better results are predicted for the 22-year-old American.

Some have questioned Moore's timing for turning professional, giving up a chance to play in next month's British Open, but not his talent following a 13th place finish at the U.S. Masters in April.

"I'm pretty excited to be here, pretty excited to be turning pro," said Moore, the most talked about amateur since Tiger Woods. "Something I've been looking forward to obviously for a long time now.

"I would like to play the British Open and St. Andrews but I just felt like this was the right time."

Moore came to prominence in 2004 when he became only the second man after Jack Nicklaus to win America's four major amateur titles -- the National championship, U.S. Amateur, Western Amateur and the NCAA -- in the same year.

Spain's Sergio Garcia starts the $5.7 million tournament as red-hot favourite at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, New York, the venue of his first U.S. PGA Tour win in 2001.

In his last 19 rounds on Westchester's West course the 25-year-old has scored par or better and won last year's tournament by beating Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Rory Sabbatini in a playoff.

The Westchester also holds special meaning for world number two Vijay Singh, who has posted two of his 27 PGA Tour victories on the club's tight, tree-lined fairways, including his first career success back in 1993.

Before missing the cut at the Memorial two weeks before the U.S. Open, Singh had been in scintillating form with two wins, two seconds and a pair of third place finishes in nine starts.

A sixth-place finish at the U.S. Open indicated the Fijian was returning to his best following a less than satisfactory buildup to the year's second major.

Chris DiMarco, who lost to Woods in a playoff at the Masters but failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open, and Kenny Perry, a double winner this season, are the only other members of the world's top 10 teeing off this week.

World number one Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els are taking time off before beginning preparations for the British Open at St Andrews from July 14 to 17.


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