Lukas Michel proudly shows his first American championship trophy. Photo: USGA
The Australian Lukas Michel will play in the 2020 Masters and US Open.
Michel, 25, made a remarkable comeback today and became the first international winner of the United States Mid-Amateur Championship at the Colorado Golf Club.
Michel, a Metropolitan member and an important part of the last three triumphant Victorian Interstate Series teams, overthrew Mississippi's Joseph Deraney in a pulsating final.
The 2 & 1 victory in the 36-hole decider at the rock-hard CommonGround Golf Course hit the Aussie ticket for two of next year's big championships – a prize he still has to put his head to.
"Incredible … almost too good to be true," Michel said when asked what the title sounded like.
“I think it will sink in the coming hours or days. But yes, I mean, I look forward to what my wave will involve in the future. "
View the winning putt of Lukas …
Remarkably, this year Michel became the second Australian to win a USGA event, after colleague Melburnian Gabi Ruffels, who won the US Women & # 39; s & # 39; s Amateur crown in August. Another Victorian, Sue Wooster, also finished second in the recent American Senior Women & # 39; s Amateur.
Victory means an invitation to play Augusta National in the April Masters, and also a berth in the US Open on the famous Winged Foot in New York, the site of the great triumph of Geoff Ogilvy in 2006.
“Today I was wearing a sweater with a winged foot for the first nine holes. Played there last year. Just an informal round with a member … so I think I watched the course there early, "Michel said.
"(But it is) incredible. I mean, a lot of golfers, the best in the world, don't get the chance to play big, let alone the US Open.
"And as a child growing up in Australia, watching the final round of the Masters on a Monday morning is practically the best morning of the year.
"Yes, I can't wait."
Michel had not led the final out of the fourth hole and ran until the 23rd with no less than three holes. But five birdies in his last 11 holes enabled him to close the win on the 35th green with what turned into a tricky par.
Both players had hit the green on the long par-3, with Michel first. A solid, curly lag putt ended about 1 meter from the cup, close to the "gimme" range.
Deraney & # 39; s bird pit to win the hole and extend the contest, slid past closely and when he took off his hat of frustration, it was initially considered by observers as a sign of concession to Michel.
"With the length of it (my second putt), I was really confused," Michel said.
“That putt is not an admitted putt. But he came up, shook my hand and I think he said: & # 39; sorry. That's no good, I thought it was shorter & # 39 ;, or something.
"I was like:" OK. "(I was) not sure what was going on. I just had to reset and still puncture the putt.
"It somehow snapped it to the right edge, and then I went upstairs and hugged Will (American caddy William Davenport after a huge jump).
"I didn't want to damage the greens, but they were so sturdy that I don't think I could do it," he joked.
The day before, Michel had won the last three holes of his semi-final to beat previous champion Stewart Hagestad with 2 and took 20 holes to win his quarter-final.
He was also 2-down through 10 holes in his Round of 32 game and also trailed early in his Round of 64 game.
Michel was 1-up early twice against Deraney, but was 3-down to 10 after the American mini birdie spree.
Michel found his best late in the morning round and withdrew to the square by the 17th to lose the 18th and have a 1-down lunch.
A few Michel Bogeys on the 21st and 23rd holes again had the Aussie 3-down, but that's where the game changed the complexion for the last time.
Michel, the 46th seed that had been spectacular all week on the par-5 & # 39; s, made birdies on the long 25th and 28th holes to pull in one.
He then made a birdie three on the 30th to tie, halved the par-4 32nd with a birdie and then made a hat-trick of birdies on the subsequent par-5s to push and win on the 35th.
Michel named Big Well as his main weapon during the week, and helped his rally & # 39; s.
"Putting is the last thing you do in a hole, so if you have a good put day, it seems that you are doing everything you can to get back into the hole, that is, I think, what I did," he said.
“It was not my best ball attack day. It was mediocre. Joe hit the ball much better than me. But if you do well, it always looks like you're coming from behind and making it happen.
“I just had a very good process. The putts went in earlier in the week, and just a kind of positive feedback loop if something comes your way.
"If you remain confident, it will continue."
Michel & # 39; s way to glory
69-76 in line play to earn number 46
R64: d Marc Engellenner 2-up
R32: d Nick Nosewicz, 2 & 1
R16: d Dan Ellis, 4 & 3
Quarters: d Jacob Koppenberg on the 20th
Semis: d Stewart Hagestad 2-up
Final: Joseph Deraney 2 & 1 (36-hole decision maker)