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02 Dec 2023 | Australian Open | Men's Australian Open | Professional golf |

Three rounds in, Block would love to be a member of The Australian

by Paul Munnings

Michael Block
American Michael Block during his round of 69 at The Australian today

Michael Block has enjoyed playing at The Australian so much he’d love to become a member of the golf club currently hosting the ISPS HANDA Australian Open.

Today’s third round was the American club professional’s third trip around the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, highlighted by a round of 1-under 70 late on Friday afternoon that allowed him to make the 36-hole cut on the number.

Feeling some pressure to perform to his best on his first visit to Australia after receiving a tournament invite, Block was in danger of missing the weekend play until he holed a seven-metre putt for par on the par-4 17th which was greeted by a loud cheer from his fans in the crowd.

He followed up with a 2-under 69 today, with four birdies and two bogeys, to move to 4-under after 54 holes and inside the top 40.

When he returns to the US next week, he’ll take home fond memories of his visit, and especially The Australian.

“This course is one of the best golf courses I’ve ever played in my life,” the 47-year-old said.

“Honestly, of all the tournaments I’ve played in my life, this is probably one of my favourite courses ever.

“It’s very much a major championship course venue and I would just love – I think they should just have it here every year and then this would be the fifth major (championship).

“I would vote for this being the fifth Major, but they would have to commit that it’s The Australian every single year.”

So what is it that Block likes about the 2023 Open venue?

“The contours, the greens, everything about it.

“It’s so reminiscent of a major championship and it’s very reminiscent of Augusta National. The bunkering, the greens, the fall-offs, it’s a great spot.

“You know what, if I could join here, I might.”

After coming to the golfing public’s attention with his top-15 finish at this year’s US PGA Championship, Block is finding it unusual to have as much support as he’s encountered on the other side of the Pacific to his home in California.

On Friday, his most eager fans were almost as heavily invested as the golfer in his bid to make the cut.

“For me as an American club professional, travelling the world and having people know you on the other side of the planet is a weird, weird deal," he said.

“I feel very fortunate to have that. I’m trying to get used to it, but I’m only like six months into it, so it’s kind of still strange to me. But I’ll sign every autograph and take every picture there is.”

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