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Saturday, 27 July 2013
Brinson Paolini ()
Brinson Paolini ()
"I'm young. I'm single. And I'd love to see Europe!" - The words of Brinson Paolini, a young man already making a name for himself out on the Challenge Tour. The Duke University Alumni from America's east coast has been decorated at every level in his homeland and now he is here, on European soil, and intent on carving out a name for himself this side of the pond.

The latest in an ever increasing line of top talent to traverse the Atlantic Ocean in search of a professional golf career, Paolini, a 22 year old from Virginia, has every intention of following in the footsteps of compatriots Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein, having turned professional this month.

Koepka won three times in the space of seven events earlier in the year to automatically graduate to The European Tour amidst much chorus and fanfare, a welcome akin to that of former US Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein. He earned his place in Europe's top tier thanks to a maiden title at the Madeira Islands Open - Portugal - BPI back in May.

Paolini himself has only teed it up twice on the Challenge Tour so far in 2013, but what a debut it was. The American carded three rounds in the 60s en route to a tie for second at the Swiss Challenge in July, before a tie for 25th just a week later at the Mugello Tuscany Open. These results already see Paolini gracing a rather heady 54th on the season's Rankings, and he is once again handily placed in his third start at Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France. An impressive start then for a man who has so far played so sparingly.

There can be few things more exciting though, than being 22 years old, and embarking on a life long ambition in some of the world's most interesting and historic countries. This American is therefore unsurprisingly adamant that he is living the dream thus far.

"I'd never played over here before," explained Paolini. "It is a great opportunity, to test yourself against the best players in the world. I obviously saw what Brooks and Peter had done and I loved seeing that, so I just want to follow in their footsteps.

"I love The European Tour, I would love to play on it at some point in the future, and I've really enjoyed the Challenge Tour so far. The past few weeks I have been in some pretty cool places, and to see Europe while I'm chasing my dream at the same time, it's a lot of fun.

"Playing over here will help me develop as a player, but also as a person. Learning how to travel, how to get from place to place, it is all a little more challenging, so I think when I go back to the States - if, or when, whatever happens - I think it will be a little easier for me. It is just a little tougher for me as I'm not accustomed to playing over here. I will just have to adjust.

"I'm doing my best though, and I'm enjoying myself. I'm happy to be here, grateful to have the opportunity, and I'm just trying to have fun. So really good golf, that is just the icing on the cake. I'm in Europe chasing my dream, I'm enjoying it a lot."

Paolini is not just here on a jolly though, the boy means business. During an illustrious amateur career the American collected much silverware, and his fair share of accolades, en route to possibly the most prestigious of them all - the 2013 Byron Nelson Award.

Funnily enough he follows in the footsteps of South Africa's Dylan Frittelli, who shared this title last year and has himself reaped the rewards of a life on the Challenge Tour thus far, thanks to a maiden title at the Karnten Golf Open presented by Mazda in June. The award in question is given to the college golfer each year who achieves all round success; in golf, academically, and as a person during their four years at school.

Paolini won numerous titles in his time at Duke University, including the 2013 ACC Championship and the 100th Virginia State Golf Association Amateur Championship, which was his fourth title in this event, having claimed three in a row from 2008.

Just a taster then of what this boy, or should we say man, is all about. He's not getting ahead of himself though, and has developed no airs or graces. Speaking to him it is clear therefore, that Paolini has his feet planted firmly on terra firma as he embarks on this burgeoning professional adventure.

"I'm hoping to get a few more starts over here the rest of the year," explained the Virginian. "My play will determine that a little bit, but I will hopefully play in Kazakhstan, and a few others the rest of the year. Other than that, I'm just going to wait until Q-School and go from there.

"I tell myself that professional golf is no different to the amateur game, you try and tell yourself that, but I've always played golf because I loved it, and that is still the same. That doesn't change. I'm just trying to play, trying to win.

"I want to get better every day, and it looks like I'm close to having a category on this tour next year, which is a good goal of mine. Anything beyond that will just be icing on the cake.

"I'd love to be on The European Tour at some point in the future, I'm not sure when that will be, but I'll just keep plugging away."

What about away from golf though, what makes this latest aspiring professional tick? Brinson's got a little beach bum in him, he'll readily admit that, but he also loves seeing the sights, living the life, chasing the rainbow.

A lot of people travel when they finish university, college, or they just get tired of the grind. They follow their dream. That is what Brinson Paolini is doing, he's just playing a little golf along the way.

"I'm from the beach back home, I love going there with friends, and I love travelling, seeing new places, so this is kind of great. I've been to Lucerne, Tuscany, Florence, and I spent all of last Wednesday in Paris.

"Lucerne was an amazing place, Switzerland is kind of expensive, but it was one of the coolest places I have ever been. It was such a clean city and the Alps were just awesome.

"I've got a good friend over here this week caddying for me, so travelling with him, and eating out together. I'm also relaxing and working out when I can, practicing, and trying to play my best."

Clear to see then, for most anyway, that this young man is loving the life; living the dream.

Needless to say then: "I'm loving life on the Challenge Tour!"

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PAOLINI, BrinsonUSA18-19
T2OTAEGUI, AdrianESP18-18
T2KIM, SihwanKOR18-18
T4ARCHER, PhillipENG18-17
T4HUIZING, DaanNED18-17
T4STEWART, DuncanSCO18-17
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