18 Mar 2017
Curtis Luck will play in Atlanta before his Masters appearance the following week. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
It was not how Curtis Luck wanted to cap his first week as the game’s world No.1 ranked amateur.
Luck knew he was well on the wrong side of the cut line after his second round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, but a disqualification for signing an incorrect card in his first US PGA Tour appearance still hit hard.
Luck was standing outside the scorer’s hut when the official scorer emerged to ask: “Curtis, what score did you have on the last?”
Then, in one of the “silly” penalties that former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy says should be changed, the 20-year old Perth golfer went back into the hut to learn his playing partner had penned a ‘4’ when, in fact, he took a bogey five.
At nine over, Luck was always going to miss the cut, but the first time he’s ever been disqualified hurt more than anything.
“It was just one of those things and it’s so unfortunate as it’s the first time I’ve been `DQd’ and it just adds insult to injury after experiencing a tough few days on the course,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the way I was playing and in taking a bogey down the last got the better of me and I really should have been paying more attention in signing my scorecard.
“I had taken a five, but didn’t notice the ‘4’ on my card for my very last hole.
“The worse thing is that I checked my score card and didn’t notice it. It was then one of the scorers came out of the scoring hut and when I went back to check my card they were spot on in picking up the error.”
As is customary, Luck had been afforded an invitation to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational as the reigning US Amateur champion, but he was always going to struggle to play four rounds after an opening 79.
Luck’s second round was a sour mix of four bogeys, an eight on the par-four 18th hole, his ninth, when he’d been just 20m from the pin in two, and a double-bogey seven on the sixth.
“I just found it tough out there and even getting here early in the week and playing a few practice rounds, I knew it would be a grind,” he said.
“I just didn’t have my `A game’ from the start of the week and, on a course like this, and given the way it’s been set up, you can easily struggle with a lot of pins placed in some very tricky spots.
“In saying that, I missed it in a couple of spots and it cost me dearly.
“But then the course is phenomenal and in such great condition and it plays very long that puts a premium on hitting the fairway.”
Luck now has a week off before his next official appearance at the Georgia Cup next weekend in Atlanta before heading east to Augusta and his maiden Masters appearance.
The young Aussie will tackle the reigning British Amateur champion, England’s Scott Gregory, in Atlanta, hoping to become the first Australian to win the title after Newcastle’s Nick Flanagan was beaten by England’s Gary Wolstenholme in 2004.
If successful, Luck would join the likes of Matt Kuchar (1998) and Sergio Garcia (1999) who won the opening two Georgia Cups.