This is Darcy Brereton’s fifth Riversdale Cup.
Most 23-year-old golfers with stars in their eyes would be fazed if their names hadn’t become public property by then.
But not Brereton.
The young Melburnian is fresh from completing his business degree at Monash University and, for the first time, has been able to focus fully on a summer of golf.
And the results are beginning to flow.
Runner-up in the Australian Master of the Amateurs in January on his home course at Royal Melbourne, Brereton turned in solid performances at the Australian Amateur and Avondale Cup in the weeks following before making the cut in his first professional event at the Oates Vic Open.
Now, in what he ranks among his favourite tournaments, Brereton is again in the hunt at the Riversdale Cup after a first-round 69 – a sure sign of growing consistency and confidence.
“I didn’t have my best today out there, but got it around nicely and that’s what I’ve been doing lately,” Brereton said.
“I started hot and was four under after 10, but leaked a little late and just hung on. But I’m delighted to be in contention at this early stage.”
Brereton represents something of a new breed in domestic amateur golf – those who’ve chosen to continue their post-high school studies rather than charge towards a professional career.
“There was no compulsion to rush into pro ranks. There’s a few of us (Victorians) now – Will Heffernan, Lukas Michel and I – who’ve all literally just finished uni and there’s more of a bunch coming up all going to uni. It’s a bit of a shift in culture, but it’s more whatever suits you and your life,” he said.
“Some people think if you’re not doing it while you’re 17 or 18, you’re done, you’ll never catch up. There’s definitely that perception among some people in golf, but the average age of a (US) PGA Tour player is 29, so I’ve still got a while until then obviously.
“That’s where I’d like to get to, but more just see where it takes me – as long as I enjoy doing it in the meantime, that’s the main thing.”
Brereton, son of champion retired jockey Danny, wouldn’t change his decisions around uni, even though he admits it “held me back a little bit”.
“That’s not an excuse, it’s just good to have that weight off my shoulders and now it’s full-time golf and I really haven’t had that opportunity before this.
“I’ve started the year well and feel like all the hard work I’ve been putting in has started to pay off an and hopefully it can continue when I go overseas this year.
“My plan is to go to the UK, hopefully then the US and throw myself in the deep end. I’ll try to get to the (Golf Australia) national camp in Texas, expose myself to world golf a bit more and make myself a little bit uncomfortable.”
Brereton knows his rise may or may not have come too late for an Eisenhower Cup berth later this year, but he definitely has a spot in Australia’s contingent to the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship on his mind before potentially turning his focus towards Q-schools for the Australasian and/or Asian Tours.
“If I keep progressing like I have for the past year, I’m pretty excited to see what it holds, I feel like there’s plenty left in the tank.
“Two years ago, the polish wasn’t there, I just got into bad routines that were too technical and (had the) wrong focus.
“So now I’m doing a lot more skill stuff than technique. It feels more natural now and it seems like it’s easier to score. I was starting to play well three years ago, then the hardest since then was watching people I was playing alongside in (Queensland and subsequently Australian representatives) Shae (Wools-Cobb) and Charlie (Dann) really take off and I just sort of stagnated a bit, if I was being brutally honest with myself.
“But I’m trending in the right direction after unit again and now I’m excited to see where it goes.”
You get the strong feeling the name won’t be obscure much longer.