Under normal circumstances, making your professional debut on The European Tour might be a nerve-racking experience, but expect teenager Marcus Kinhult to be one of the calmest heads around when he tees off at this week’s BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni.
After all, the Swede has already shown his pedigree among the paid ranks while playing under amateur status, leading last June’s Nordea Masters at the halfway stage before another strong performance at the Omega European Masters a month later resulted in tied tenth place.
The 19 year old then successfully negotiated the Qualifying School marathon, tying for third at the Second Stage at Las Colinas Golf and Country Club before taking the 17th card at the Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort.
I feel prepared for professional golf already - my game is good enough to be up there with those bigger names.
“It feels unreal, unbelievable,” he said on becoming a European Tour Member. “It was a long week, a tough last few days and it was a bit of a struggle for me on the course, but I managed to pull it off in the end.
“I felt prepared for professional golf already going into that week but it was a good confirmation of that. My game is good enough to be up there with those bigger names hopefully in the future, that’s what I’m trying to reach.
“It was emotional for my family. I had many relatives and familiar faces there and it was great to have them with me all week, great support.”
The springboard for Kinhult’s eye-catching 2015 was consecutive victories in the Junior Invitational and then in the Lytham Trophy, an eight shot win which took him up to third in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
His junior career also featured appearances in the Junior Ryder Cup, Junior World Cup and the Eisenhower Trophy, and the hotshot says that turning professional fulfils a lifelong dream.
“I was only six when I started playing,” he said. “My dad is a club professional, a teaching professional, so I’ve been on the course all my life – both playing and not playing, just being around him.
“It’s been a special career so far - especially the last two years have been very kind to me. To earn a European Tour card already is a really nice ending to my amateur career and I’m now just excited to get going."