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South African golfer Brandon Stone signs up with IMG

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MUMBAI: South African golfer Brandon Stone has announced that he has both turned professional and has appointed IMG, the global sports, fashion and media company for exclusive worldwide management and marketing representation.

After a year at the University of Texas where he finished the season ranked second on the collegiate rankings according to GolfWeek, he will play in his first professional event at the BMW International Open on a sponsor?s exemption. Ahead of his professional debut, Stone will also be signing deals with Ping and Titleist/Footjoy.

Stone is headed to the US on a golf scholarship last year as the top ranked amateur in South Africa and has had a freshman year to remember, winning the 2013 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, the Bayou City Collegiate Championship and the Big 12 Championship. Last week, he was announced as the 2013 NCAA Freshman of the Year and a Ping First Team All-American.

Named Golf Digest Amateur of the Year in 2011, Stone has represented South Africa at junior and senior levels. He served as a member of South Africa?s 2012 Eisenhower Trophy and has amassed 18 titles over the past four years.

IMG manages his fellow countrymen Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Branden Grace, Trevor Immelman and Richard Sterne. Stone said, "I have had an amazing year in Texas and I would like to thank the University of Texas Golf coaches and my teammates for their support. I am very excited to turn professional and get started with the next phase of my golf career. I spoke to a lot of management companies but IMG, with all of their offices around the world and many decades of experience, make them the perfect fit for me."

"Initially, I will need invitations to play and IMG has the global influence to ensure I get the opportunities to compete in the right tournaments to give myself the best possible chance to win cards in Europe and the US," he added.

"My first start will be at the BMW International Open and I am very grateful for the opportunity BMW are giving me and hope I reward them with a great performance," Stone concluded.

He will be managed by Duncan Reid out of the London office with assistance from Katie Gordine and Jacques Retief from IMG South Africa.

Reid, who also manages Ernie Els and Branden Grace, commented, "We are delighted to welcome Brandon to IMG and believe he has a very bright future ahead of him. His achievements over the past couple of years have been remarkable and along with his fantastic golfing ability he is an extremely charismatic young man who will be very appealing to sponsors."

IMG Golf global head Guy Kinnings said, "Brandon?s outstanding amateur record has established him as one of the world?s best young golfers and he has the looks, personality and charisma to become one of the most sought after personalities in golf."

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