Date: November 20, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

THE AMATEUR: Luck graduates memorable academy


“I’m running out of excuses to play poorly now.”

So said Curtis Luck today as he pocketed another key prize in Australian golf after a memorable round with another top US PGA Tour player.

Luck, who’s plotting a path to peak at next year’s Masters, won the low amateur medal of the 2016 Emirates Australian Open at seven under today, shading Sydney’s Travis Smyth (-4), fellow Perth gun Min Woo Lee (-3), NSW Central Coast’s Harrison Endycott (+2) and Wodonga’s Zach Murray (+3) for the honour.

The Cottesloe ace signed for a 67 today in a pairing with Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas, the reigning Canadian Open champion, two days after his second round of the week with champion Jordan Spieth and former US Open champ Geoff Ogilvy.

Naturally, Luck was disappointed not to progress further than his T11 overall finish, five shots out of the playoff.

He was also justifiably proud of another grand achievement in his year of many, including the US and Asia-Pacific amateur crowns and his key role in Australia’s Eisenhower Trophy romp.

But for Luck, 20, all systems are trained towards Augusta, Georgia in April next year.

“I’m happy to come away as leading amateur, but yet again I feel like I’ve learnt a lot this week and it’s another great lesson to learn before my next six months of golf,” he said.

“I’ve got an unbelievable run of events up until Augusta, so there’s no reason I can’t get to the Masters fully prepared.

“I watched Jhonny today and to have played with Jordan and Geoff was amazing to just watch how they go about their business.

“I think Spieth would agree he didn’t have his A-game here this week and yet still managed to do so well and win the Aussie Open.

“I feel like one of my characteristics is that I dig deep, and it just proves he’s got the same characteristic – it’s a long week and to see how he keeps it going and stays focused throughout is a great lesson.”

So what of the grand plan Luck had to pick Spieth’s brain about the 2015 Masters champion’s secrets to conquering Augusta National.

“No, I never quite got to it,” Luck said.

“But I did get Jordan’s number and his caddie’s, so I hopefully can call them and arrange a practice round with him and maybe play a little in lead-up or afterwards.”

That’s not the Stonehaven Cup, but it’s still a mighty prize.