Curtis Luck was playing free and easy at this week’s Asia-Pacific Amateur, feeling none of the accompanying pressure of having a Masters spot on the line thanks to having already locked one up by winning the U.S. Amateur title in August. Perhaps that’s why the 20-year-old Australian was able to rally from a seven-stroke deficit entering the final round at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, on Sunday and win the title by one stroke after shooting a bogey-free 67.
En route to the title, Luck topped countryman Brett Coletta, the 54-hole leader who struggled on Sunday, shooting a three-over 75 to finish in second. Suffice it to say, the specter of an invitation to Augusta National loomed large for Coletta and may have played a role in the final outcome.
“It’s really hard to swallow,” said Coletta, 20, after the round, noting he was trying to look at the positives. “I’ve had three good rounds at a tournament I’ve never played before.”
Luck acknowledged his win was somewhat bittersweet given that it came at the expense of one of his close friends. The duo hung out with several other Aussies during the week, with Luck saying the week was one of the most fun he’d ever had at a tournament off the course.
That said, friendship only goes so far, and while Luck would have loved to have had Coletta accompany him at Augusta next April, he wasn’t going to let up.
“I obviously understand the opportunity that he just missed out on, and I will say, I feel a little guilty and a little bad,” Luck said. “But yeah, unfortunately that’s the sport we’re in.
“You know I’m so competitive, I couldn’t probably give up the chance to try and win an event like this. Yeah, it’s just how it goes.”