Pro golfer with N.S. ties grabs 14th place at British Open
Professional golfer Austin Connelly, who’s only 20 years-old has tied for 14th place at the British open Sunday.
Connelly was born in Texas but started playing golf at the Clare Golf and Country Club in Comeauville, Nova Scotia, where he would visit his grandparents during the summer.
"I never felt any nerves from the first tee on, which was surprising to me, I was very calm and I think I'm very confident with how I'm hitting it," says Connelly.
He still has lots of family and friends in Clare, including Roland Deveau, a Clare native who is president of Golf Canada and joined Connelly at the British open.
"His success is because of the work he's put in, he's just a focused young gentleman, very energetic in terms of working on his game and it's paid off, he's really making a name for himself,” Deveau says.
Connelly finished in a tie for 14th place ahead of six golfers ranked in the World Top Ten. Coming into the British Open, Connelly was ranked 524th in the world.
Two years ago he made his debut at the 2015 Nova Scotia Open at the New Ashburn course in N.S.
"That was the first time I got a chance to play with him, at the pro-am, and he was a real nice young man, looked awful young back then and only weighed about 140 pounds, but he had quite a game,” says pro golfer Gordie Smith.
Smith is in the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a golfer and he’s now the general manager at the New Ashburn Golf Club.
"Just looking at where he's come from, he won the Nova Scotia Bantam title which is under 15 in 2011, here we are six years later and he's in the British Open," says Smith.
Fans of Connelly’s success in the Nova Scotia golfing community gathered to cheer him on at Darmouth’s Brightwood Golf and Country Club, Sunday.
"Quite a story, he's got composure, he's got everything, nothing bothers him and he seems like a humble individual,” says Dartmouth golfer Alex Joseph.
Smith says he hopes Connelly's success will help grow the sport of golf in Nova Scotia.
"It's exciting for the young guys and there are a lot of Nova Scotia juniors who have played with Austin over the years, so I think that experience will help grow the game here for sure,” he says.
Connelly's finish guarantees him a spot in next year’s British Open.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Allan April.