Curtis Luck's modest pre-tournament aim of making the Australian Masters cut surprised those close to him, but he's raising his expectations now he's earned the right to play Huntingdale this weekend.
After the second round, Luck is 1-under par and in a tie for 24th, well above the 3-over cut mark that claimed the scalps of high profile amateurs Ryan Ruffels and Brett Coletta, as well as PGA Tour player Steven Bowditch.
“I didn’t hole as many putts as I feel I should have,” said Luck about today’s 2-under par round of 69.
“But I hit it really well. If I can keep that up over the week and a few of those putts drop, I’ll be hoping to be right up there with a top-10 finish to get an Aussie Open start.”
“The first goal was to make the cut. People were almost unhappy with me for setting a goal so low, but I’m really happy and now I’ll look at shooting some low numbers on the weekend and making that top 10.”
Playing the biggest event of his amateur career, Luck is treating the Aussie Masters as a learning experience. The Cottesloe amateur is used to playing under pressure, but dealing with large crowds, media and the hype around an elite field will be an adaptive process.
“Yesterday was really interesting. It was the first time I’ve had to play consecutive holes really nervously,” said Luck.
“Usually when you step up in a big event you play the first hole a bit nervous, but after you hole that putt and you’re away and feel alright.
“Yesterday I just felt nervous through the first six holes and you could probably see that in my scorecard.“
Luck’s group of Rod Pampling and George McNeill teed off as the broadcast started for the opening round. And as Luck moved into the top 10, the TV crews honed in.
“It was different feeling having the cameras following you around,” said Luck.
“Rod or George would hit a shot and if you were next they’d come running at you so they’re ready to roll. It almost got to the point where I wanted to ask them not to film me, as it just added a little bit of extra pressure.”
But Luck showed moments of brilliance with the cameras in his face and broadcasting live into homes around Australia. His approach into the ninth was even included as a shot of the day highlight, and Curtis enjoyed having the chance to see it replayed on the big screens.
“It was all a very cool experience,” said Luck.
“I was walking up nine after I had hit it to a foot, and I got to watch it all replayed on the big screen, so that was something new.”
The nerves certainly didn’t show as Luck enjoyed many open discussions with his caddy during his pre-shot routines. While the commentators loved the insight into the mind of one up Australia’s up and coming stars, Luck joked about that catching him unawares.
“Yeah that was interesting to find out post round. Now I’m worried I might have snuck a bad word in there!”
It’s all a part of the learning experience, and it continues tomorrow at 11:55am local time, with Luck drawing five time PGA Tour of Australasia winner Gareth Paddison of New Zealand in his third round.