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Uihlein to Turn Pro - in Europe


Peter Uihlein will bypass his final semester at Oklahoma State and turn professional. The 2010 U.S. Open champion at Chambers Bay and son of Acushnet chairman Wally Uihlein will make his pro debut at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January.

"I loved my time at OSU. It was unbelievable experience and I'm definitely going to miss it," Uihlein said in a statement. "But the timing made perfect sense. I talked to my dad about it, and it seemed like a good opportunity."

The younger Uihlein has signed on with England-based, uber-agent Chubby Chandler, who runs International Sports Management. The former Cowboy All-American will be part of a stable of Chandler's that also includes No. 2-ranked Lee Westwood, British Open winner Darren Clarke and Masters' champion Charl Schwartzel.

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy had been with Chandler, but moved to Irish-based Horizon Sports Management in October; HSM also represents Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.

Uihlein is impressed with the quality of tournaments and players on the European Tour. "The PGA European Tour plays all over the world from the United Kingdom to China, from Korea to South Africa and from the Middle East to Southeast Asia," he said in a press release.

"And those players who have played on the tour, and who are still members, make for a pretty impressive list."

Though he plans to play exclusively in Europe, Uihlein will be eligible for seven exemptions on the 2012 PGA Tour. He will have the entire year to try to earn full status on either the PGA or European Tour for 2013.

Chandler is looking forward to working with his newest signing, and expressed interest in observing the effects of the decision by a high-profile American amateur to make his pro debut in Europe. "I don't know if this is a new trend, but Wally thinks pretty deeply about the world game," Chandler said of Peter's father.

"It's fun for us to have the responsibility of looking after (Peter). He's a bit of pioneer, leading the way. This might start others doing the same sort of thing. The interesting thing about Peter is that he wants to do this, and he feels capable that he's going to do it."