The Island's Kevin Le Blanc has turned professional and will make his debut on the PGA Europro Tour in a fortnight.
Junior Open champion in 2014, the 19-year old will make his debut in a professional event when he tees it up in the PDC Golf Championship at Studley Wood near Oxford from June 21-23.
A member of the Irish senior panel, Le Blanc made his international debut in the European Nations Cup Cup at Sotogrande in March before going on to play for the GUI in the recent Carey Cup victory of the MGA at Galway Bay.
He played for one year for Maynooth University under the Paddy Harrington Scholarship scheme but now hopes to forge a successful professional career.
"It's exciting," Le Blanc said today. "I just want to go pro while I'm young. You could get caught up playing amateur golf for a long time but I just want to get out now and get experience and see where it takes me."
Le Blanc has no set schedule just yet but hopes to receive several more invitations to play in Europro Tour events.
"I will keep my fingers crossed and see how it goes," he said. "I just want to play as many as I can, get as much experience as I can and have fun."
The Dubliner might have remained in the amateur ranks to compete for his place in the Irish team for this season's home internationals and the Walker Cup team in 2019.
But he has decided to make the move now and see if he has the game to make a living from the game.
"You could wait around for another two years but you might not get picked," Le Blanc said of the amateur scene and the possibility of a Walker Cup pick. "It obviously not going to be easy but I believe my game is good, especially my short game right now, so I am really looking forward to it."
Le Blanc showed he can compete at the highest level in the amateur game when he contended for the Irish Amateur Open title as a 16-year old in 2015, eventually finishing tied for third behind Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin, who have since turned professional.
He also tied for 11th in that season's Brabazon Trophy, just a shot behind Paul Dunne in an event won by Sharvin.
Last season, he took defending champion Dermot McElroy — the current leader of the Europro Tour money list — to the 18th in the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland Championship, and he believes his game compares favourably to many of the former Irish amateur stars who have turned professional recently.
"I've played with both Gavin and Dermot a few times. Dermot beat me on the 18th in the West and you can compare your game to theirs.
"I hope to enter the European Tour Qualifying School at the end of the year so fingers crossed I will have played many professional events before then."
Le Blanc has been helped by performance coach Jude O'Reilly —an experienced tour caddie who has worked for the likes of the late Christy O’Connor Jnr, Darren Clarke, Masahiro "Massy" Kuramoto, Shigeki Maruyama and Henrik Stenson.
And he will continue to work with the Rosses Point native as he takes the plunge in the paid ranks.
"I see a lot of positives in Kevin," O'Reilly said, "not just in terms of his work ethic but in his character and his attitude."