Before there was the excitement of Adam Scott and Min Woo Lee charging to the top of the leaderboard as Cam Smith plummeted, Curtis Luck had the early highlight of day two at Royal Queensland.
Reaching the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship’s Southern Comfort Party Hole 17th , Luck was not having the sort of day that would likely see his name up in lights with an opening bogey at the 10th and another two holes later.
That “rough start” was quickly forgotten when a gap wedge found its way to the bottom of the cup at 17 for an ace that inspired three more birdies and a 67.
The West Australian’s 8-under total places him in a share of fourth with Lucas Herbert and first round leader Joel Moscatel, the trio four back of the 36-hole leader.
“It was a pretty good number for what we were trying to do,” Luck said of his ace. “I mean, on that hole, the only thing you’re thinking is obviously don’t go long.
“Once I saw it land, I was pretty confident that it was going to stick pretty close … pretty electric stuff.”
On the bag for Luck this week is Duane Smith, husband and regular looper for Sarah Jane Smith, with the pair’s son Theo the lucky recipient of the hole-in-one ball from Luck, who reflected on a recent misstep when he also had a one-week only guest caddie.
Chasing promotion to the PGA TOUR via the Korn Ferry Tour points race, Luck brought in coach Craig Bishop as his caddie for the Albertsons Boise Open in late August only to miss his tee time. A crucial misreading that hurt his chances of finishing inside the top-30 and earning a card on main US circuit.
The mishap having something of silver lining with Luck and Bishop able to spend more time working on his game together before setting himself for a competitive trip home.
“It was just like a brain fart obviously. I just misread my tee time … But yeah, I mean, obviously getting to do a bit of work with Bish in Boise was big and then I spent 10 days in Perth getting the head right and seeing Bish before I came here.”
That time getting his head right clearly paid off for the former US Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur winner who will now look to embrace his artistic play over the weekend on an increasingly tricky Royal Queensland layout.
Luck’s tee time error perhaps well and truly forgotten if he could secure playing rights on the DP World Tour with a win either this week or next, with his wedge play that brought his Friday highlight the likely propelling factor.
“My putting’s always probably my best attribute. I’m a good chipper. I think one of the things I’ve done better this year compared to previous years is my driving’s improved considerably … My wedge play this week particularly has been unbelievable.
“I’ve come here and I’m like, ‘actually, I’m wedging it amazingly. Let’s keep it up’.”