The Victorian duo of Ben Eccles and Lucas Herbert will tee up at the 2015 UNIQLO Australian Masters as professionals.
Herbert, 19, and Eccles, 20, have both made the decision to join the professional ranks on the eve of the first leg of the Australian Triple Crown.
One of just seven Australian’s to achieve Tier 1 level in the Golf Australia national squad, Herbert has represented Australia on the golfing world stage as well as frequenting Victorian State teams since 2011.
Herbert achieved his best result in a professional tournament at the 2013 Lexus of Blackburn Heritage Classic where he finished T2 after a play-off with Max McCardle and eventual winner David Bransdon.
“That was probably the first time I realized I was at a high enough level to make golf a career. That was a massive week for my own confidence as well as getting the good result,” said Herbert.
Turning professional has always been on the cards for Herbert who is thrilled that the UNIQLO Australian Masters will be his debut tournament as a professional.
“It’s always a dream as a kid to be able to play on the PGA Tour, to win the US Masters or even the Australian Open. I’ve always wanted to do it since I picked up a club at age two.
“It’ll just be pretty exciting being a professional playing in the event. It’s one of those events you grow up watching thinking ‘I’d love to play that one day’
“The Masters has always been pretty special to me and to play that as my first professional event is going to be pretty exciting. I’d love to make the cut and make some money but I’ll leave my expectations a bit up in the air and we’ll see as the week goes on how I’m playing.”
Meanwhile Eccles has had a stellar year so far with highlights including T3 at the Oates Vic Open, captaining the winning Men’s Interstate team and winning the NSW Open last weekend which expedited his decision to turn professional.
“It leaves me ten months ahead of where I planned to be,” said Eccles.
“I’m really happy with the decision that I’ve made [to turn professional] and I’m really looking forward to what’s to come.”
While it will be Eccles first tournament as a professional, he is well accustomed to the professional golf stage. The UNIQLO Masters will be Eccles’ fourth professional tournament in as many weeks.
With a professional win under his belt, Eccles is confident his form is strong enough to match it with the rest of the field.
“This week I just want to have fun and enjoy the week. Playing with the best pros from Australia is going to be awesome as well.
“I just want to enjoy the experience and see what I can do. If I can back up playing like last week then that would be awesome as well.”
Take a look at what the guys had to say about their decision to turn pro and the week ahead at the Masters: