Blake Windred is still pinching himself after two of the best weeks of his young golf career.
Fresh from his finish as the equal low amateur at the NSW Open held at Twin Creeks, Windred had a ‘money can’t buy’ experience working as the caddie for former World amateur number one and now US-based professional, Oliver Goss at the Emirates Australian Open.
“Yeah, it was a crazy two weeks,” Windred smiled.
“I never really gave the low Amateur a thought during the NSW Open. It was one of my goals, but honestly, I thought they were too far ahead,
“but to win the Amateur medal and finish a tournament with a low round for once was nice.”
Windred opened his NSW Open campaign with rounds of 70 and 66 before a one over 73 left him more than a few shots adrift of the leaders. A final round 7-under par 65, however, impressed plenty of those around him.
“It was one of those rounds where I kept making birdies, then I threw an eagle in, and you know you're going low. I didn’t know how low though,
“the more nervous I got, the more I told myself was keep making birdies. That’s the best way I’ve found to deal with the nerves,
“the last three holes I made some good pars. I knew they were as crucial as the birdies I made,” he said.
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Although buoyed by his low Amateur win, Windred missed pre-qualifying for the Australian Open the Monday following the NSW Open. By chance, however, the opportunity to caddy for Oliver Goss, a former World Amateur No. 1 presented itself.
“I hadn’t caddied before in a tournament like the Aussie,” he grinned. “One of the biggest things I found out is carrying that bag is heavy!"
“I learned so much, he’'s a champion bloke,"
“It motivated me too. I felt like I could’ve been playing, being where he was, doing what he was doing.”
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Windred grabbed the chance to discover more of what’s required to become one of the world's best by asking a few questions, not only from Goss but one of his practice round partners, former world number one, Jason Day.
“I talked to Oliver about how he went to the US Amateur. He told me how he played Justin Thomas and lost on the last hole, how Jordan Spieth was in the field…all the names he had played against."
“Watching how he played too. I know he didn’t have his best golf there, but I still learnt a lot from him,”
“I feel like I can compete with these guys, but maybe next year for the Australian Open,” he laughed.