Monday morning usually brings the beginning of tournament week but for Golf Australia National Squad member Antonio Murdaca it’s time to taper. It’s fair to say he’s had a decent weekend though. As thousands of his fellow amateurs tackled their local track back home on Saturday, he was playing a casual 18 under sunny skies at Augusta National. With Adam Scott. Made a couple of birdies too.
Sunday was more of the same – head out around 10am, warm up, hit some balls, have a few putts, quick lunch in the famous clubhouse then another 18. This time with $10 million dollar man Billy Horschel & Kevin Na. From Monday Antonio will fine tune his game with 9 holes each of the next three days so that he’s fresh on Thursday morning. It’s the plan he and coach Gareth Jones have devised since they visited here early in March.
“We came to Augusta the first week of March to get a feel for the course and the surroundings in general (get the tourist stuff out of the way) and check out the logistics for the main trip” said Jones. “Antonio felt more and more comfortable each day and the ball flight we have been working on was suiting the shapes of the holes. We had the opportunity to use local caddy Brain Tam, who caddied last year for Oliver Goss and two years earlier Guan Tian Lang. He has the nickname ‘Low Am Tam’, so it was great to gain as much knowledge as we could from his experience. This week we decided to plan the week, with the advice of Adam Scott, to play 18 on Saturday and Sunday, then 9 holes Monday to Wednesday to conserve energy for the first round. It’s been a great build up so far and we can’t wait for the crowds to build over the next few days”.
Monday will see thousands of excited patrons enter the grounds of Augusta National for the first time. Walking around the streets of Augusta on Sunday is like watching a bunch of kids before their first day of school. So much excitement. Bags packed, outfits picked out but nowhere to go. It’s not hard to pick them as they loiter on Washington Road – stock uniform consists of khaki shorts, polo shirt (tucked in), golf cap (Masters cap from a previous year adds instant cred) and comfortable shoe. Groups of guys wander past Magnolia Drive and take a quick look in before backing up as if they forgot something to grab another glimpse. Tomorrow they can, and I’d recommend they take a look at Antonio.