Freshman golfer Antti Ahokas has left Minnesotas mens golf team to play professionally, coach Brad James said.
Ahokas, who went up-and-down on the 54th hole of The Gopher Invitational to clinch the tournament for the Gophers, plans to join the PGA European Tour before eventually going on to the PGA Tour.
Its very difficult and extremely disappointing," James said. But at the same time, it gives someone else an opportunity but he made our team better."
The Finnish freshman averaged 71.08 strokes per round and finished third or higher in three out of four events, including a tie for second at the Duke Invitational.
Antti was the type of player that wasnt staying four years," James said. Hes an elite golfer and college golf was a stepping-stone for him."
As for the rest of the team, James feels that Ahokas one semester helps his team immensely.
I think he helped our team realize there needs to be a whole (new) level of dedication to get to that next level," James said. He was a leader on and off the course and that was something our program needed."
Still, the loss of Ahokas severely cripples a team that hoped to contend for a national title.
Hes just a rare, rare player that can go straight from college and have success in the pro ranks," James said. Hes by far one of the best players Ive ever had since Ive been here, if not the best."
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