Junior Boys

Luck part of Aussie 'pit stop' in The Woodlands

Curtis Luck was one of four Australians who qualified for the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Curtis Luck was one of four Australians who qualified for the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur. ( USGA )

Friday, July 25, 2014

THE WOODLANDS, Texas –– Curtis Luck lives more than 10,500 miles from The Club at Carlton Woods. So why is the Australian feeling at home this week in The Woodlands?

Not only was Luck one of four Australians in the initial 156-player field at the U.S. Junior Amateur, he is also one of about 15 players affiliated with Golf Australia staying at The Woodlands Resort this week.

“A lot of Australians come over (to the U.S.) for the summer,” said Luck, who is the last remaining Australian left at the U.S. Junior Amateur after defeating Joshua McCarthy, 5 and 4, in Thursday afternoon’s Round of 16.

“It’s just kind of a pit stop, so we all come here, have a good time and get some good practice done.”

Among the other Australians in Texas were juniors Ryan Ruffels and Zach Murray, both of whom made match play at the U.S. Junior, and Jack Trent, who missed the cut. Ruffels lost in the Round of 64 then caddied for Luck on Thursday, while Murray was defeated by Sam Horsfield in the Round of 16.

Brady Watt, who recently turned professional, practiced at TPC Woodlands earlier in the week and followed Luck during his first match Wednesday. Pros Stacey Keating and Jake Higginbottom have also spent some time in The Woodlands this week.

“Most of the guys that play in the junior events and amateur events, we’re all really good mates,” said Luck, who plays out of Cottesloe Golf Club in Mount Claremont, near Perth.

Luck and Murray, who plays out of Commonwealth Golf Club near Melbourne, recently joined Ruffels on the Australian national squad, an opportunity Luck said has “made a big difference” in his game.

“The guys on the squad get to stay here for free,” said Luck, who is making his first trip to The Woodlands. “We get access to funding for travel and really great access to coaches. They look after us. They give us basically everything we need.”

It seems to be paying off, too. Luck never trailed against McCarthy and won the final five holes to advance. While his mate didn’t follow suit Thursday, you can bet Murray and the other Australians will be rooting Luck on in Friday’s quarterfinals.

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