Aussie amateur Michel wins Masters spot

Victorian Lukas Michel has won the US Mid-Amateur, becoming the first international winner in the event's 39-year history.

20-Sep-2019 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press

Australian golfer Lukas Michel admits the thought of playing in the Masters at Augusta National is yet to sink in after his historic win at the US Mid-Amateur Championship on Thursday.

Michel took two weeks off from his job at a Melbourne driving range to compete in the prestigious event for over-25s, earning a 2-and-1 victory from American Joseph Deraney in the 36-hole final at Colorado Golf Club.

The 25-year-old Michel became the first international winner in the 39-year history of the United States Golf Association event.

Michel twice came back from three-hole deficits to win the title, courtesy of bagging four birdies in his final eight holes.

"The USGA championships are the premier events in amateur golf; the level of competition is so high and to win from a field like that is incredible," a jubilant Michel told AAP.

The US Mid-Amateur affords the winner an invitation to the Masters and US Open, the latter being held at New York's famed Winged Foot next year.

"It doesn't seem real right now, but I can't wait for the opportunity and the experience of the Masters and US Open," Michel said.

"As a kid growing up in Australia, watching the Masters final round on a Monday morning (AEST) is pretty much the best morning of the year."

Michel admitted teeing up at the hallowed turf at Augusta never seemed possible given he paused his promising junior golf career to undertake an engineering degree at the University of Melbourne.

But he never gave up on his dream to play golf and uses his two part-time jobs to bankroll the endless travel and tournament expenses.

Michel works three nights a week at the Melbourne Golf Academy driving range, in addition to caddying at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

"I put most of that money into my golf career, so to win an event like the US Mid-Amateur means everything to me as a golfer," he said.

"I want to turn pro in the next 12 months and playing in two major championships will be really valuable."

Michel was the third Australian to reach a USGA final this year.

Gabriela Ruffels won the US Women's Amateur while Sue Wooster was runner-up in the US Senior Women's Amateur.


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