David Micheluzzi and Blake Windred on the 10th hole at Sheshan International on Tuesday at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship 2019. (Photo: Justin Falconer)
This week's Asia-Pacific amateur championship in China could be the last amateur hurray for World No.4 Dave Micheluzzi and No.11 Blake Windred … but hopefully it's not goodbye yet.
The Australian powerhouse duo are coming in this week as two of the hot favorites in Shanghai, although neither feels the heat.
The winner of the AAC earns a 2020 Masters berth and a place in The 149th Open at Royal St. George & # 39; s and a win on Sunday is the only thing that keeps Micheluzzi and Windred from joining the professional ranks immediately .
“If I win, I will remain an amateur for seven months. If I don't do that, I'll be the second pro after putting that putt on 18 hole, "Micheluzzi said.
"I don't think there is any pressure to be honest [this week].
“We only play amateur golf here. We don't play for money. It's all fun and games. At the end of the day, if you win, you get the ultimate prize, really. You can play majors. "
Check out the best pieces by Dave, Blake and Karl on Tuesday:
After making his AAC debut last year in Singapore on World No.55, Novocastrian Windred has become one of the shining lights of the amateur game in the past 12 months.
Windred has a trip to the European Tour Q-School in November and while the Australian GC member hopes he will be there with his amateur status intact, he is ready to take the plunge.
“I have the feeling that I am running a bit free this week. It is whether you win and remain an amateur or, if you do not win, become a pro, "said Windred.
"I feel that there is nothing to lose and win everything this week.
Windred was Australia's number 6 in Singapore on the world ranking last year, but this year he is our number 2.
Upon returning home he rattled consecutive top 10 & # 39; s in the Isuzu Queensland Open, NSW Open, Australian Master of the Amateurs and Australian Amateur Championship.
A win at the Avondale Amateur fourteen days later helped the 21-year-old to a career-changing year.
"I am so happy that I have remained an amateur for the past 12 months, because a lot has been said about" why don't you become a professional? ", Said Windred.
"I am really happy to have played a few professional events as an amateur.
"I learned a lot and I just feel that I have grown as a person and my golf game is only getting better and more consistent."
The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is organized by Augusta National and The R&A and comes closest to a professional tournament that top amateurs expect from golf.
"I think this tournament is probably one of the best in the world I've played," said Micheluzzi.
"Going from how things are run to the television, just everything, it's like it's a professional elite event."
And while this week's winner does not cash a thick check that matches the status of the tournament, money cannot buy the loot of the win.
Victorian Lukas Michel won his way to the 2020 Masters (and the 2020 US Open) last week with a historic victory at the Mid-Amateur in the US and his two-time Interstate Series-winning teammate Micheluzzi and Windred would like nothing more than to join their mate in Augusta National & # 39; s Crows Nest in April
"It's pretty motivating," Micheluzzi said. "Hopefully I can join him in seven months."
"It is motivating to see that he is already locking up a place, there is nothing more that I want than to be with Lukas," said Windred.
AAC debutants Karl Vilips, Kyle Michel, Jack Thompson and Nathan Barbieri complete the Australian attack at Sheshan International this week.
The first round starts Thursday morning at 8:15 AM AEST