BOOM Charlestown teenager Blake Windred is confident he has the right game and mindset to tackle one of the toughest challenges in amateur golf – the Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne starting Tuesday.
The 72 stroke championships attracts some of the world’s best players and is a lead up to the Australian Amateur Championship in Perth (January 16-21).
Former world No.1 Jason Day collected a coveted Green Jacket as Master of the Amateurs champion in 2006 and US PGA Tour-winner Rickie Fowler finished second in a play-off in 2009.
World class field aside, Windred is excited at playing at Royal Melbourne for a second straight year.
“It is an experience,” Windred said of playing the famous sandbelt layout. “I don’t think I have ever played on a course as firm as Royal Melbourne. St Andrews (Scotland) was firm but Royal Melbourne is at the next level when it comes to the greens. Throw a few 40 degree days in of late and it is something you don’t experience in the world.”
Windred had a strong finish to last year and has worked hard over the Christmas-New Year period.
“First tournament back everyone is normally rusty,” he said. “I want to try and get a jump on things and get things rolling from the first tournament.”
Windred said Royal Melbourne is a course where you have to adapt to conditions.
“You have to land it short a lot more,” he said.
“It is not a boring golf course, you play some shots you have never played before. You play a different shot every hole and have to use your imagination – try and grind your way around the golf course. You can get some pretty unlucky breaks when the ball rolls off the other side of greens. The way the greens were last year – I don’t think I will play on greens faster – was borderline unplayable. It’s crazy but pretty cool. I like it.”
Windred tees off at 12.10pm and is in a group alongside Japan’s Takumi Kanaya, who finished in a tie for 19 at the Australian Open and England’s Welsh stroke champion Gino-Marco Petrozzi.
Aberdeen’s Dylan Perry is the Hunter’s other represent.
* Toronto professional Cal O’Reilly was one of 15 Australians to progress to the final stage of Asian Tour School.
O’Reilly fired rounds of 67-71-73-70 to finish at three under and a tie for eighth at St Andrew 2000 course – one of four used for the first stage.
The final stage, featuring 242 golfers, is being played over 90 holes, starting Wednesday. There will be a cut after 36 holes with the leading 140 players continuing, and a second cut after 72 holes to the top 70 and ties. The final stage is being played at the Rayong Valley and St Andrews 2000 courses, with the top 35 earning a place on the tour.