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Fifteen-year-old golfer quits school and turns full time
Marco Penge is aiming big after becoming a full-time golfer at the age of 15.
Penge received special permission to leave Forest Boys school early so he can devote all his time to achieving his ambition of becoming one of the best players in the world.
The reigning England under-16 and under-15 champion has set his sights on becoming one of the youngest players ever to compete in the Walker Cup next year.
Penge, from Horsham, also intends to enter Q School for the European Tour later this year and has not ruled out turning professional at the age of 16 if he wins his card.
He said: “I wasn’t going to go to college and already know I want to be a professional golfer so I thought I might as well leave school early so I could throw everything at it.
“Other people seem to think it was a big decision and have said I need a back-up plan if things don’t work out with my golf career but the way I see it this will help me achieve my ambitions.
“I’ve had to miss loads of school over the last few years to play in tournaments anyway and it just became increasingly more difficult to fit my golf schedule around my school work.
“I’ve taken three GCSEs already and am going to do another two in the summer but for the last three years I haven’t really concentrated on school as I have known that golf is what I want to do.
“Now instead of fitting in a couple of hours of practise after school each day I am down at the golf club from 9am to 5pm every single day so I think that is going to make a big difference.
“It has also changed my mindset. I now know that golf is my job and I have got to be 100% dedicated to make sure I am successful.”
Penge enjoyed a stellar 2013, winning three prestigious national titles, to rise to the top of the European under-16 rankings.
The Goodwood amateur made an encouraging start to the new season this month when he and fellow rising Sussex star Toby Tree reached the semi-finals of the Sunningdale Foursomes.
He followed that up by finishing as runner-up in the South of England Youth Championships (the Darwin Salver) at Rye yesterday and competes in the Duncan Putter and McEvoy Trophy next month before flying to America for the junior version of the Masters.
Penge added: “I had a really good year last year so it will be tough for me to better that but I’m a year older and the fact I’m full time now means I can prepare better for tournaments.
“I’ve set myself the target of breaking into the top 100 of the world amateur rankings this year and if I perform the way I know I can then that is realistic.
“The Junior Ryder Cup is being held in Scotland in September and I want to play in that and I’d love to make it to the Walker Cup next year.
“My ultimate goal is to turn professional but I’m not too sure when I will do that as it depends how things pan out. I’m going to go to Tour school at the end of the year for the experience but if I did do well and won my card then I’d have to make a big decision.
“I’d like to play a few events on the European Tour this year as there is a possibility I might be able to get some invites which would be a really good experience.”
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