Windred, Micheluzzi nothing to lose at Asia-Pacific
The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which kicks off tomorrow, could be the last amateur tournament for World No.4 Dave Micheluzzi and No.11 Blake Windred.
The Australian amateur stars tee it up as two of the red-hot favourites in Shanghai.
Blake Windred (Credit: Golf Australia)
The winner of the tournament earns a start at the 2020 US Masters and a spot in the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s next year.
A victory on Sunday will be the only thing stopping Micheluzzi and Windred from immediately turning pro.
“If I win, I stay amateur for another seven months. If I don’t, I turn pro the second after I hole that putt on 18,” Micheluzzi said.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure…we’re only playing amateur golf here. We’re not playing for money. It’s all fun and games. At the end of the day, if you win, you get the ultimate prize, really. You get to play majors.”
After making his AAC debut last year in Singapore at World No.55, Newcastle’s Windred has become one of the amateur game’s shining lights in the last 12 months.
Windred has a trip to European Tour Q-School lined up for November and while the Australian GC member is hoping he’ll be there with his amateur status intact, he’s ready to take the pro plunge.
“I feel like I kind of have a free run this week. It’s either you win and stay amateur or if you weren’t to win, turn pro,” Windred said.
“There’s nothing to lose everything and to gain from this week.”
Windred was Australia’s No.6 last year in Singapore going by the world rankings, but this year he sits at No.2.
After returning home last year, he rattled off consecutive top 10s in the Isuzu Queensland Open, NSW Open, Australian Master of the Amateurs and Australian Amateur Championship.
A win at the Avondale Amateur a fortnight later helped the 21-year-old to a career-changing year.
“I’m so happy I stayed amateur for the last 12 months as well, because there was a lot of talk about ‘why don’t you turn pro?’,” Windred said.
“I’m really happy I played a few more professional events as an amateur.”
“I’ve learnt a lot and I just feel I’ve grown as a person and my golf game is just improving and getting a lot more consistent.”
And while this week’s winner doesn’t cash a fat cheque befitting the tournament’s status, money can’t buy the spoils of victory.
Victorian Lukas Michel won his way to the 2020 Masters (and the 2020 US Open) with an historic win at the US Mid-Amateur last week and his two-time Interstate Series-winning teammate Micheluzzi and Windred would love nothing more than to join their mate in Augusta National’s Crows Nest next April.
“It’s motivating to see him already lock up a spot, there’s nothing more I want than to be there with Lukas,” Windred said.
AAC debutants Karl Vilips, Kyle Michel, Jack Thompson and Nathan Barbieri round out the Australian charge at Sheshan International this week.
Source – Golf Australia