Date: April 05, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Luck’s last amateur hurrah

Perth's Curtis Luck has confirmed the worst-kept secret in Australian golf — this is his final week as an amateur.

Luck, who has won exemptions to the Open Championship and US Open through the feats that took him to the top of the world amateur rankings, will forego them both to take the professional plunge next week.

The 20-year-old from WA said his immediate future was in the United States as he tries to take advantage of up to eight sponsors' exemptions on the US PGA Tour in the chase for a 2018 card.

"We’ve got three settled at the moment and potentially four or five sort of that are there if I want the offer and want to take it," Luck said today.

"Ultimately the goal is to play here for the next six months … use those invites to the best of my ability and try and follow in, I guess, Bryson (de Chambeau) and Jon Rahm’s footsteps and get some status for 2018 here in the US.”

Luck, who won last year's West Australian Open, said he could make his pro debut as soon as next week's RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, just up the road from Augusta.

But with so much going on this week, he said he planned to enjoy his first Masters and let other matters be decided afterwards.

Luck has got his eye in playing practice rounds with Scott and Jason Day and today he completed an awe-inspiring dance card by teaming up with Rory McIlroy.

Luck said he has soaked up every minute of his maiden Masters experience — and every word from his knowledgeable playing partners.

"I got in Wednesday, so I kind of got a really good idea of what the course is playing like and how to play it before I got to the practice rounds with those guys," he said.

"They just pointed out a few things, a few pin locations to be wary of, a few putts to try not to leave yourself.

"But really, the best thing about playing with those guys is watching how they do it; the lines they take off the tees are always interesting.

"Playing with Jason a few holes on Saturday, Scotty Sunday and Rory today, yeah, it’s awesome to watch. They are all such nice guys.

"More than anything, it’s just relaxing, walking around and being able to have a casual talk with those fellas."

But Luck's thirst for knowledge has extended even further, including what became a priceless chat with former Open and US Open champion Johnny Miller at Monday evening’s amateur dinner.

"Johnny told us you have to be aggressive to do well on this course," said Luck, who has his parents, sister and grandmother with him in Augusta, as well as his coach, Craig Bishop, who will double as caddie.

"Not necessarily aggressive in terms of going for flags, but aggressive in whatever you are doing. If you are playing away from the flag you have to do so aggressively; when you get a ‘green light’ flag, you have to be the same way and really go for it.

"He also pointed out how you can get caught out here. You can play great golf and shoot two over par because you are not hitting close enough and not giving yourself opportunities.

"He made a lot of sense."

Later that evening, Luck and the four other amateur qualifiers for this year’s Masters headed to the Crow’s Nest, where they bunked in for the evening.

“We stayed up relatively late, just chatting and getting to know one another, and then we went to bed,” Luck said.

“Then I was up early for my game with Rory.”

What a week.