Date: September 21, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

World looking up to Australia

In the scheme of the World Amateur Team Championship, national teams rarely pack a bigger numerical punch than the Australian outfit that will chase the Eisenhower Trophy in Mexico this week.

No team, including dual defending champion the United States, could pick a team that rivals world No.3 Curtis Luck, No.11 Cam Davis and No.12 Harrison Endycott – on paper.

But statistics mean nothing when they hand out golf trophies – never have, never will.

And nobody is more aware of the vagaries of championship golf than Endycott, who’s fighting back from a bout of food poisoning on the eve of the biennial event for which the trio has been preparing for months as their rankings tumbled.

“I’m feeling much better today,” Endycott said with a wry smile after being unable to walk nine holes on the first official day of practice at Mayakoba yesterday.

“I went back and had a big sleep and I’ve woken up feeling so much better – I can’t wait to get out and into it again now.

“I feel like I’ve lost a bit of weight, that I’ve now got abs like Arnie Schwarzenegger used to,” the Sydneysider joked.

Just as his partners this week, Endycott is acutely aware of the big wraps placed on the Australian team.

But with obvious pride in the challenge ahead, he says they’re itching to pull on the green and gold.

“We are all really looking forward to it – all year we’ve been playing well and working hard to be able to compete against best three from all the other (71) countries.

“It’s an absolute privilege when you look down and see that (Australian) coat of arms and that not many get the chance to do what we’re doing.

“We are definitely confident and everyone can see we’re good on paper, but we’re all keeping mindset of having to play well to win.

“There’s a lot of good players here this week thinking the same thing, so we just have to stick to ourselves and the game plan we’ve come up with, there’s no reason we can’t win.

“We’ve done the work, we should be thereabouts.”

Australian team manager Matt Cutler said there was an obvious and strong bond between the three players, who, he said, had already worked really well together in mapping the courses.

“You really get that sense that not only are they excited to compete, but also really enjoy working together,” Cutler said.

“A lot of people are coming up to us in meetings saying you’ve got a good team, so they’re certainly aware of the guys and what they’ve done.

“That’s really nice, but they’re definitely not getting carried away with it all. They wouldn’t shy away from why they’re here and what they hope to achieve.”

The resume all three has built in the past year is immense, but just the flash highlights is enough for other teams to have Australia as the one to beat.

New South Welshman Davis’ runner-up finish in last year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur was followed by a string of good scores and results this northern summer, particularly in Britain.

Luck has had a couple of outstanding results in professional events, including winning his home Western Australian Open before taking out amateur golf’s most sought prize, the US Amateur, last month.

Endycott won a series of national events before storming to the Porter Cup in New York at the end of July.

“It’s nice to know our games stack up against the best from around the world,” Endycott said.

“If we can produce that kind of form this week, who knows what we can achieve for Australia?”

The team, coached by NSW national coach Dean Kinney, begins its campaign on Wednesday night (Australian time) on the Iberostar Course, then has the second round the following night at Mayakoba, host course of the US PGA Tour’s OHL Classic.

Australia has won the Eisenhower Trophy three times, but not since 1996 in the Philippines where Jamie Crow, Brett Partridge, David Gleeson and Jarrod Moseley saluted.