Curtis Luck trying to cash a check in pro debut

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Curtis Luck is making his pro debut in the Valero Texas Open, and at least he knows what to expect.

His last nine tournaments over the past six months have all been on professional tours.

“I’ve definitely got a lot of experience under my belt I can use this week to put a good couple of rounds in and have a good result,” Luck said.

The 20-year-old Australian made his final year as an amateur one to remember. Luck won the U.S. Amateur in August at Oakland Hills by defeating Brad Dalke of Oklahoma, 6 and 4. He decided to stay an amateur to take advantage of his invitation to the Masters, and then won the Asia Pacific Amateur last fall by one shot over Brett Coletta of Australia at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.

With the Masters behind him — Luck made the cut and tied for 46th — he’s ready to start getting paid.

For the second straight week, the top stars on the PGA Tour are staying home. Patrick Reed at No. 15 in the world is the highest-ranked player at the AT&T Oaks Course on the TPC San Antonio.

The field also includes Matt Kuchar, who is playing his fifth straight tournament, PGA champion Jimmy Walker and defending champion Charley Hoffman.

Kuchar’s long stretch began at the Dell Technologies Match Play, where he went 1-1-1 but failed to advance from his group. He missed the cut at the Houston Open and then has shown flashes that he could be on the verge of winning for the first time in three years on the PGA Tour. He made a hole-in-one on Sunday at the Masters and tied for fourth, and then he closed with a 64 at Hilton Head last week.

Hoffman also has had his share of chances.

He was tied for the lead with three holes to play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational until a three-putt par on the 16th and a bogey from the bunker on the 17th. And then at the Masters, Hoffman opened with a 65 in 40 mph gusts — it was nearly 10 shots better than the average score in the opening round — and was only two shots out of the lead going into the final round until he closed with a 78.

Luck, meanwhile, made the cut in five of the nine professional tournaments he has played since last fall, with his best a tie for 11th in the Australian Open, five shots behind Jordan Spieth’s winning score.

He already has three more sponsor exemptions lined up as he tries to get a PGA Tour card. Luck said he has invitations to play in the Colonial, the Memorial and the Quicken Loans National.

The last two prominent amateurs to turn pro got off to strong starts.

Bryson DeChambeau, who won the U.S. Amateur the year before Luck, began his pro career after the 2016 Masters and tied for fourth at the RBC Heritage. That remains his best result in PGA Tour events that offer full FedEx Cup points (he was runner-up in Puerto Rico opposite the Match Play).

Jon Rahm made his pro debut last year after the U.S. Open and tied for third at the Quicken Loans National on his way to securing his PGA Tour card in a month. Rahm has since won at Torrey Pines and lost to Dustin Johnson in the final of Match Play.

“I guess there’s a little bit more pressure to perform,” Luck said. “As an amateur, you’re kind of paying money to go play and nothing comes out of it, where here, I’m starting to try to make a living,” he said. “But yeah, with my last six months of golf, I almost kind of in a way turned professional because I haven’t played an amateur event, like an actual amateur event, since October.

“I’ve kind of been professional for a while now playing these events,” he said. “Just haven’t been able to cash a check yet.”

Just Posted

Huge RV resort proposed for Buffalo Lake

Some residents feel 800-lot RV resort too big for area

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

Land wanted for Central Alberta Foodgrains project

23rd year for Lacombe area charity

Stolen vehicle found thanks to tip from motorist

Charges laid against Red Deer man and Leduc County woman

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Trudeau: Invitation should not have gone to Sikh extremist

NEW DELHI — A man who was convicted of trying to assassinate… Continue reading

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

Evangelist Billy Graham, who reached millions, dies at 99

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life… Continue reading

Amid a flood of plastic, big companies see opportunity

LONDON — Public awareness of the problem of plastic waste is swelling… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month