[PHOTO: Brett Costello]

Harrison Crowe knows exactly what it’s like to play Augusta National, but he urges all those chasing the lure at this month’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Melbourne to ignore the outcome and focus on the present.

Sydneysider Crowe, who recently turned professional, won the AAC in Thailand late last year to earn his spots in the majors for 2023, and those opportunities go on the line again at Royal Melbourne’s Composite course from October 26 when the event comes back to Australia.

Crowe will not be playing; he was tempted to keep his amateur status but ultimately has turned professional, with his debut at the WA Open this week.

And as a veteran of what can be a tricky situation for amateurs, he was quick with his advice when asked how the players at Royal Melbourne should think.

“Try not to think about the reward that comes out of it, the Masters and The Open,” he said. “But I think it’s a long week. And I don’t really feel like I jumped out of the gates last year. I feel like I just worked my way into the tournament and, I’d say it’s not a race. It’s, I mean, a four-round tournament is always long. But I feel like that week there is a little bit longer. So I think it’s just put yourself there and see the abyss and don’t try not to try not to think too much about that.”

Crowe missed the cut at Augusta in April and also in The Open at Royal Liverpool in July but took away precious memories.

“I learned a lot about myself, a little bit my game, and be able to take any information, I guess from all the top players in the world was really, really awesome. And I think that kind of catapults me a little bit to what I know I need to do as a professional.”

Of course not thinking about Augusta and The Open is easier said than done. Just ask Lucas Herbert, who has played the Masters once and who is a veteran of a few AAC campaigns when he was an amateur.

Herbert said most golfers had Augusta as a focus each year. “You talk to anyone outside the top 50 in the world, the only thing they want to do is to find a way to get to Augusta every year,” he said yesterday. “You know, among my mates, I know that it’s a pretty big raffle off as to who can get any of my tickets if I do make it to the Masters. And I don’t think there’s any other tournament for the year where I have as much interest as they do for that for my mates trying to get tickets.

“But I think that’s that speaks volumes to how big the tournament is. I think I probably spent 12 months after the event last year just telling stories to anyone. Everyone’s first question was like, ‘How’s Augusta?’ You know, it was like, ‘Did you love it? Was it everything you thought it would be?’ Just any multitude of questions about, you know, just the event or even the golf course that I spent basically 12 months answering those questions.

“And yeah, I think that sort of says it all.”

The Asia-Pacific Amateur includes 10 Australians this year, including dual Australian Junior champion Jeffrey Guan.

AAC information