The 2012 WA Open at Royal Perth went down in history, as Oliver Goss defeated fellow amateur Brady Watt in an epic five hole playoff in a professional event.
The stage is set for a repeat performance at the 2015 Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open at Royal Fremantle, with Curtis Luck and Min Woo Lee in the top five after the third round.
Ahead of the amateur pair are three prominent WA professionals. Leader Daniel Fox is on 9-under, holding a one shot advantage over Jason Scrivener and Michael Sim.
Luck and Lee might be three back in their bid, but they are far from out of contention.
Lee will have the support of the gallery tomorrow and the home course advantage, while Luck is notorious for his ability to shoot ridiculously low rounds when it matters most.
In the unfamiliar surrounds of a professional golf event, the pair are happy to be drawn together for one of the biggest rounds in their young careers.
They may be vying for bragging rights and low amateur honours, but as friends they will keep a relaxed mood if things are tight over the closing holes.
“It’s going to be awesome fun,” said Luck after his even-par third round.
“I think I’m going to be paired with Min Woo so I’m really excited to get out there and play with him.
“We’ll have a bit of fun out there so that makes it a bit less stressful, but also it’s great as we’re a bit competitive with one another.
“We’ve played a lot of amateur golf together so hopefully it spurs us both to go on and do some good things.”
To contend, Luck says he will need to improve on greens tomorrow — a task made easier with the wind forecasted to be almost half of the speed of today’s 50+ km/h gusts.
“I was trying to get a bit of a feel for putting in the wind as I’ve been struggling with some of my putts that have been cross breeze,” said Luck.
“Quite often you might have a putt that will want to go a little bit left, but with the wind going the other way it actually becomes a left to righter.
“I’ve had a bit of trouble making myself commit to actually allowing for the wind.”
While most of the field struggled on a back nine that is much more exposed, Lee played his best golf after being even for the day through the turn.
“The back nine was pretty much the highlight,” said the Royal Fremantle member, who birdied the last hole come in with a round of 69.
“I made two birdies in a row on 13 and 14, and I just got it going on the way in.
“I was a few back this morning so I knew I had to make a few shots up. The conditions were pretty tough today so to go 3-under, I’m pretty happy with that round.”
Instead of the home course expectation being a burden, Lee is relishing the spotlight with the gallery following his group almost matching the number following the leaders.
“Yeah there was a little bit of pressure, but I just stuck to my gameplan and it turned out well,” said Lee.
“I needed to play well today and it’s good to have the support around. It was pretty good having some little kids follow us around and asking for signatures!”
It will be the second straight day Lee is paired with another amateur after playing today’s round with up and coming Victorian amateur Ben Eccles.
There is a sense of camaraderie in the amateur game, especially when it comes to playing against the professionals.
“I have always had a bit of a joke around while we play so it was good playing with Ben, especially since I haven’t played with him for a long time,” said Lee.
“It’s always good to meet up and play with another amateur.”
The group of Lee, Luck and Valente will tee off tomorrow at 10am at Royal Fremantle, with the lead group of Fox, Scrivener and Sim following at 10:10.