Luck just out for a good time at Masters

Charles WHELAN
Amateur Curtis Luck of Australia hits a tee shot on the fourth hole at Augusta National Golf Club on April 4, 2017

Australian amateur Curtis Luck insists he is just out for a good time at the Masters, his last tournament before he turns professional.

Luck, 20, from Perth, is one of five amateurs in the Masters draw but is unique in that he managed to qualify twice, as both the US Amateur champion and the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship winner.

Luck, who knew from age 10 that golf would be his career, said that playing in the Masters for the first time will be a "dream come true."

The world amateur number one is already plotting his professional career -- planning to make his pro debut next week in the PGA Heritage tournament at nearby Hilton Head.

"The thing I am most excited about is teeing off on the first tee on Thursday," Luck said. "It's just going to be fun."

Luck said that in order to prepare for his first Augusta National appearance, he has been practicing on the course with a trio of giants -- fellow Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

"They pointed out a few things," Luck said. "Really the best way of preparing was playing with those guys."

He said that McIlroy was "really impressive."

"It was cool," Luck said, describing how McIroy offered to play with him then promptly birdied the first two holes.

Adelaide-born Scott, the 2013 Masters champion now living in Switzerland, said Luck could make a huge name for himself in the pro ranks.

"I think a lot of Curtis's game. He's got a lot of game, too," Scott said.

"I really feel he has got the opportunity, if he just ticks a few of the right boxes in the next few months, he can be another breakout star, just like a Jon Rahm or any of these, Jordan Spieth.

"It's impossible to say how good he can be because I think we're always constantly surprised by someone every year now who performs better than anyone may have thought."

- Party Down Under -

Scott, 36, ended the Australian Masters jinx 17 years after Greg Norman, with a last round lead of six shots, lost to Britain's Nick Faldo in one of Augusta National's most storied meltdowns.

Scott's victory ignited celebrations across Australia and the world number nine says he is ready to trigger another party Down Under.

Nine top-10 finishes last year laid the groundwork for a good Masters but Scott has failed to shine so far in 2017.

"I haven't played a lot this year and I haven't played at my best. But my mind this year has been all about peaking here," he said.

"Last year, I was coming in kind of hot and my best golf wasn't here. So I'm hoping it's different this year, and I've stayed really patient and not gotten too frustrated with my average play."

Players like world number one Dustin Johnson, McIlroy, Day and the likes of world number four Hideki Matsuyama are playing golf "as good as we've ever seen this year," he said. But Scott feels he can challenge with the best of them.

"I'm definitely up for it. I think it will just be fun for Australia... we're pretty much up for a celebration any time down there. It would be great."