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British Open standout Lewis turns pro

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LONDON (AP)

Two months after raising eyebrows by taking a share of the lead at the British Open, highly rated English youngster Tom Lewis has turned professional.

Lewis, who was named after American golf great Tom Watson, brought an end to his impressive amateur career Friday and will make his debut on the European Tour at next week's Austrian Open in Atzenbrugg.

''I am very excited to get out there and see how I measure up,'' Lewis said in a statement released by the IMG agency, which has signed the 20-year-old player as a client.

Playing alongside Watson in the first round of the British Open in July, Lewis shot a 5-under 65 - the lowest round by an amateur in the event's history - to take a share of the lead with Thomas Bjorn.

He eventually finished in a tie for 30th, winning the silver medal for the highest-placed amateur.

''The Open Championship was fantastic for me and I learnt a lot from the occasion,'' Lewis said. ''All the experiences gleaned from my amateur career, along with the help and support I have received from the Royal & Ancient, the English Golf Union and my family and friends, will hopefully stand me in good stead as I try to earn my European Tour card for next year.''

After the Austrian Open, Lewis will play at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland as he attempts to emulate Italian youngster Matteo Manassero in securing his European Tour card in just seven starts.

Lewis helped Britain & Ireland's amateurs beat their counterparts from the United States at the Walker Cup in Aberdeen, Scotland last weekend.

Tagged: Tom Watson, Tom Lewis

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