Ellis plays down talk of turning pro too soon

Harry Ellis. Picture: Tom Ward
Harry Ellis. Picture: Tom Ward
Scott Gregory. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Gregory: None of the pros care I won British Amateur

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Harry Ellis is hoping his quest for medals will be the perfect stepping stone to an eventual chance at Walker Cup glory but insisted: I won’t rush into the pro ranks.

The 17-year-old flies out to Australia this week to represent Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival at the prestigious Twin Creeks Golf Club in Sydney.

But the Meon Valley Golf Club teenager, who broke Nick Faldo’s record to become the youngest player to win the English Amateur Championship last year, is in no rush to emulate world number one Rory McIlroy, who turned professional aged just 18.

Instead, Ellis is determined to complete his education in the amateur ranks and get a chance to play in the amateur version of the Ryder Cup later this year.

He said: ‘My ultimate amateur goal would be to play in the Walker Cup.

‘It’s Walker Cup year, so there will be a lot of players trying to get in.

‘Winning the English Amateur last year gave me a big opportunity to make the squad but I know I have still got to do something special this year.

‘If it doesn’t happen this year, then I will wait another two years to try to do it next time.

‘There’s no point rushing into a pro career if you’re not ready yet.

‘I’ve got a timescale in my head but it’s about making the progress at the right time.

‘I’m only 17, so there is no point yet. Ideally, if you make the Walker Cup, it opens up a lot of other opportunities for you down the line.’

While lucrative offers are bound to start rolling in, Ellis has an old head on young shoulders and will not be swayed by empty promises.

He said: ‘There might come a time when I get a few offers.

‘But I’ve got a good team around me and if those offers come, I have to look through it carefully and make the right decision.

‘It’s not just about money. It is whether I can see the improvement again this year.

‘If I get my game to a place where I am ready, I won’t need to worry.’

Meanwhile, the Hedge End-based plus-one handicapper has been putting in the hours in the gym in an attempt to beat the weather to get himself and his game into shape for the Down Under trip.

He said: ‘I’ve been putting in a lot of hours over the past month and I’ve been trying to get physically fit again.

‘At the end of a tough season, you can be quite tired but you need to build that back up.

‘It will be pretty hot out there, so it’s important I’ve done as much as possible to stay on it for four rounds.

‘But I can’t wait. It’s a huge honour to represent Team GB.

‘There may be a little bit of pressure on all of us but we can only do our best and I’m sure we will all do that to try to come back with a medal.

‘There will be a lot of good players out there.

‘But we have as good a chance as anyone.’