Mark Hayes, Golf Australia
Perth’s Curtis Luck has had another massive honour bestowed upon him to cap an extraordinary year.
Luck, 20, was on Wednesday night named the Emerging Athlete of the Year at the AIS Sport Performance Awards in Sydney with his award received on his behalf by Golf Australia national coach Dean Kinney.
More than 350 guests including sport’s elite athletes, coaches and sports administrators celebrated Australia’s sporting achievements for 2016 at the gala event, with many Olympic and Paralympic achievements also honoured.
Luck will almost certainly end the year as the world’s No.2 ranked amateur golfer one of the great years by an amateur in recent memory.
The Cottesloe Golf Club member began his extraordinary season by winning his home West Australian Open on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
But the best was still to come.
He fininshed tied fifth among some of the world’s leading professionals in the ISPS Handa Global Cup in Japan in June.
Luck next took the world by storm when he won amateur golf’s most prized trophy, the US Amateur, in August to earn himself exemptions into three major championships in 2017.
He then teamed with New South Wales pair Cam Davis and Harrison Endycott to win the Eisenhower Trophy for Australia at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Mexico – by a record-equalling margin. He also finished second in the individual standings that week.
Not finished yet, Luck then took his A-game to Korea and promptly won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in thrilling fashion in the final round.
Luck’s achievements are likely to earn him many invitations to play in prestigious professional events in coming months – including a definite start in the Masters in April – before a decision is made on his professional status at some point later in 2017.
2016 AIS Sport Performance Awards
Female Athlete of the Year – Kim Brennan (rowing)
Male Athlete of the Year – Kyle Chalmers (swimming)
Team of the Year – Australian Women’s Sevens Rugby (sevens rugby)
AIS Best of the Best – Gary West (cycling)
AIS Best of the Best – Ric Charlesworth (hockey/high performance consultant)
Service to Sport – Danielle Woodward (canoeing)
Award for Leadership – Kate McLoughlin (Australian Paralympic Committee)
Coach of the Year – Michael Blackburn (sailing)
Para Performance of the Year – The Australian Steelers (wheelchair rugby)
Emerging Athlete of the Year – Curtis Luck (golf)
Team of the Year (public choice) – Western Bulldogs (Australian rules football)
Best Sporting Moment (media vote) – Kyle Chalmers (swimming)
ABC Sports Personality of the Year – Chloe Esposito (modern pentathlon)