Less than two weeks before the University of Colorado hosts the Men's Pac-12 Championships at Boulder Country Club, one of the best CU men's golf teams in recent years was dealt a major blow when the school's career leader in scoring average decided to turn pro immediately, ending his college career.
Senior Jeremy Paul, who is No. 77 in the most recent World Amateur Golf Rankings, announced Monday that he has accepted a sponsor exemption as a professional in this week's Web.com Tour United Leasing & Finance Championship, which starts Thursday in Newburgh, Ind.
Paul, a native of Germany who has a twin brother Yannik who had been a CU teammate, competed in Web.com Q-school in the fall and advanced to the final stage. He finished 72nd in that tournament in December, giving him conditional status on the 2017 Web.com Tour. That wasn't enough to get him into early-season events, but he landed a spot in this week's tournament.
"Jeremy has determined turning pro at this time is in the best interest for his budding professional golf career," CU coach Roy Edwards said. "We respect his decision. He has a tremendous future in front of him and we applaud him on a great CU career. Jeremy leaves CU as one of the most decorated players in our history, (one) who seemingly always played well when his team needed it the most. The records he holds are mind-boggling at times and those marks will be great targets for future Buffs to try and achieve.
“He was a pleasure to coach and he has no bigger fans than his Colorado golf family."
Paul's four-year stroke average at CU was a record-setting 71.72. He claimed three individual titles in his college career, and managed 21 top-10 finishes, which is also a program record. He is scheduled to earn a Business degree from CU on May 12.
Without their top player, upcoming for the Buffs are the Pac-12 Championships April 28-30 at Boulder Country Club and the NCAA Regionals May 15-17. CU is hoping to qualify for the NCAA Finals for the first time since 2002, but without Paul, that becomes a much more formidable hurdle to overcome. Paul finished seventh at last year's Pac-12 meet.
"It has obviously been a tough decision leaving the team a few weeks early, but I believe we have a deep team this year and someone will for sure step up and fill my spot," said Paul, an honorable mention All-American as a junior. "With that being said, I truly believe that the team will have a great chance winning the Pac-12 Championship and also making a move at the NCAAs."
(April 22 Update: Paul missed the cut by two in his professional debut, posting rounds of 72-78 for a 6-over-par 150 total.)