Well done to Australia's CURTIS LUCK who won 2016 US Amateur in impressive fashion, defeating American Brad Dalke, 6 and 4.
You WILL be hearing about the 20-year-old LUCK a lot more in 2017, as he reaps the benefits of winning the 116th Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Detroit, Michigan. He becomes the third Australian-born champion in the history of the US Golf Association’s oldest championship, Walter Travis (1900, 1901, 1903) and Nick Flanagan (2003), and sixth international champion of the event in the last decade.
In his semi-final match, he faced Nick Carlson a local University of Michigan sophomore who had become the Cinderella story of the week. Carlson sat 1,981st on the World Amateur Ranking compared to Luck’s No. 7 spot, but had knocked off British Amateur champ Scott Gregory and Western Amateur winner Dylan Meyer en route to his semi. Carlson had a putt to win the match on the 17th hole and gave away the 18th by making double bogey, and Luck had to make a 12-footer at the first extra hole and birdie his next hole from a fairway bunker just to stay alive. Curtis eventually won on the 21st hole with the help of his caddie/father, Stuart having spent a few holes on the brink of elimination.
LUCK finished as runner-up at the 2014 Australian Amateur - then one of his biggest amateur achievements - but earlier this year, he won the WA Open (shot 19-under 261) on the Australasian Tour in May to earn his 2017 Australasia Tour Card becoming only the third amateur in the 25-year history of the event to win. (Stephen Leaney, a 2003 U.S. Open runner-up, and Oliver Goss, a 2013 U.S. Amateur runner-up, were the others.) And then in June, Curtis finished fifth at the Japan Tour’s ISPS Handa Global Cup, tying Charl Schwartzel and beating Padraig Harrington and Victor Dubuisson. The Aussie is ranked higher in the OWGR than Tiger at 539rd overall having teed it up in 10 professional events already - 133 spots better than Woods, who sits at 672.
Curtis is really into beards as a quick trip to LUCK's twitter page shows his beard is more than just a fashion statement. His life will never be the same again as the boy from Perth in Western Australia will be mentioned alongside the names of Bobby Jones, Palmer, Nicklaus, Mickelson and Tiger as a US Amateur Champion.
In an age of young bombers, LUCK is not a power player, but he keeps the ball in play and is very steady. He surely is now headed to Mexico next month with Cameron Davis and Harrison Endycott to play for Australia at the World Amateur Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy from Sept 21-24th at the El Cameleon course at Mayakoba, host venue of the US PGA Tour’s annual OHL Classic. Davis, ranked 11th in the world amateur rankings was the hero for New South Wales in its dramatic Interstate Series triumph in May, then set a course record at the Colin Montgomerie-designed Rowallan Castle Golf Club in Scotland in June. Fellow Sydneysider Endycott, ranked 16th amateur, won the recent Porter Cup in New York, capping a staggering seven-month run in which he has five key amateur victories. He also won low amateur honours at US Open sectional qualifying in England and had a joint runner-up finish at the Players Amateur in South Carolina in July.
LUCK was planning turning pro later this year, having already signed up for European and Japan qualifying schools, but now that he's played his way into a trip to Butler Cabin at next year's Masters, The OPEN Championship and The US Open at Erin Hills, he will put those plans on hold. Traditional starts in PGA Tour events such as the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Memorial also await.
As for holding off on turning pro? As they say downunder in Stralya, no worries, mate !