Date: April 29, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Luck cashes in at New Orleans

Curtis Luck’s rookie US PGA Tour season continues to build momentum with a career-best finish in New Orleans.

Playing with good mate, American Hank Lebioda, in the team format of the Zurich Classic, Luck finished in a share of fifth.

Luck earned the biggest cheque of his season ($US163,338), but more importantly the FedEx Cup points he pocketed catapulted him to 136th on the season standings, needing ultimately to finish in the top 125 to retain his card.

While the West Australian was happy with those trappings, he was delighted with the “positive trend” his season is building having made four successive cuts, including a T13 finish at the tough Valspar Championship in March.

“I’m still wrapping my head around where I am and seeing my name (on leaderboards), so I’m happy with how it’s progressing,” Luck said.

“I was looking at some stats the other day and it seems like I’ve been playing a couple of good rounds every week, but they’ve been typically early on and not so much on the weekend.

“But it tells me I’m not too far away and when I can make that three or even four good ones each week, I should be thereabouts.

“I haven’t put that full week together yet, but it’s there and I’m learning so much at the same time, so it’s trending in the right direction for sure.”

Luck was diplomatic in deferring to Lebioda as the powerhouse of their pairing.

“Frankly, the best thing I did all week was pick Hank as my partner,” Luck joked.

“He was really good this week, especially (in the first round fourball) when I don’t know if I even got my name on the card.

“But we teamed really well in the second round (foursomes) and made our way through the field a little bit.

“It’s quite interesting playing alternate shot because you can get out of rhythm if you’re not careful. For example, I didn’t really hit an approach shot today for about nine holes and you can go cold on something if you’re not on top of it.”

Luck played a great trap shot on the last to inside 3m, from where Lebioda knocked in birdie for the pair to close with a 71 and reach 20 under, six back from runaway champs Jon Rahm and the resurgent Ryan Palmer.

Of the other Aussies in Louisiana, Matt Jones teamed with J.J. Spaun to finish at 16 under and T22, while the teams of Rod Pampling and John Senden, Adam Scott and Jason Day, plus the teams in which Cam Smith and Cam Davis were a part, all missed the cut.