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Happy-Go-Lucky Masters Approach for Curtis

Western Australian Curtis Luck will turn professional immediately after the Masters at Augusta.
The serious business of professional golf starts next week for Curtis Luck, so the young Western Australian has already decided his time at Augusta National this week is going to be about fun.

Fronting the media overnight ahead of his Masters debut, Luck said he is hoping to get a start at next week’s PGA Tour event at Hilton Head as a professional but, in the meantime, his focus was simply on enjoying the experience of the Masters.

“At this stage, with so much planning been going into getting ready to turn pro, I’m just here to have fun,” he said.

“I think if I enjoy my time out on the golf course, the golf will come with it hopefully. That’s usually how it works.

“I look at this week and it’s going to obviously be a completely different level of crowd out there so dealing with that is going to be interesting.

“I can’t predict how it’s going to be. I’m sure it will be surreal.”

Luck qualified for the event twice in 2016, by winning the US Amateur in August as well as the Asia-Pacific Amateur in October, and is one of five amateurs in the field.

He’s already played practice rounds with Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy and joined Jason Day for several holes last Saturday on a course he feels suits both his game and approach.

“It’s probably just my creativity, to be honest,” the 20-year-old said when asked what part of his game was best suited to tackling the famed Augusta layout.

“I would hope that I can use the slopes to the best of my ability to get the ball close. I use my imagination a lot when I play golf and I hit lots of different types of shots so hopefully that gets me through the week.”

Luck said he had gleaned plenty of valuable advice from his more experienced practice partners since arriving in Augusta a week ago and was now just excited to get the tournament underway.

“I think when I was 10 I started playing golf and right then and there I knew that golf was something I wanted to pursue as a career,” he said.

“It’s obviously been a long road, 10 years to get here and I’ve worked extremely hard so to finally be here at a major, and particularly the Masters, is a dream come true for me and my family who’ve supported the whole way through.

“But I guess the thing I’m most excited about is teeing it up on the first hole Thursday morning, or Thursday afternoon or whenever it may be, and getting out there and hitting some shots for real.”

Asked if he was able to separate being a golf fan from tournament preparation during practice rounds with Day, Scott and McIlroy, he described the experience as ‘pretty awesome’.

“I’ve been lucky enough that I played with Jason a couple of weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and I played with Adam Scott at the end of last year at the Aussie PGA so both of those games I’ve seen,” he said.

“But Rory today was impressive. I was a little bit worried at the start when he said we were going to play just one ball and he birdied the first two but he slowed down after that. 

“It’s definitely hard not to watch these guys; these are guys that I’ve grown up wanting to aspire to so it’s cool to actually be playing alongside them rather than just watching from the crowd.”

Luck said the course reminded him of Royal Melbourne and that the key to success was knowing when to be aggressive.

“It’s actually very similar to a course back home, Royal Melbourne, in the fact that you’re given quite wide targets off the tee but there are very specific spots you need to hit to if you want to gain access to some of the pins,” he said.

“But it’s a course you can afford to be aggressive when you get those green lights so ultimately it’s about making the most of those birdie opportunities when they’re there.”

Luck said while the course afforded birdie chances there were also several holes where bogey was a possibility and he has already adopted a mindset to deal with those setbacks.

“There are going to be bogey holes out there,” he said.

“I mean 4 is a brutal par-3 down the hill and I’ve already said to myself that if I walk off with bogey there, I’m not going to be too stressed out.”

Luck tees off in Group 23 Thursday alongside defending champion Danny Willett and American Matt Kuchar.

2017 MASTERS CONTENDERS

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