Harrison Crowe got his first taste of the fabled Augusta National layout overnight, playing a practice round with fellow Aussies Min Woo Lee and former world number one Jason Day.
Despite a slight hiccup with an errant tee shot on the 10th hole (his first hole of the day), the St. Michael’s star didn’t look overawed in the least.
Crowe spent much of the morning working alongside his caddie for the week, Andrew Tschuddin (Cameron Davis’ regular looper), scouting hole locations and working out the best lines to approach the treacherous pin placements that will no doubt be in store when the tournament begins in earnest this Thursday.
He was an attentive listener, too, when it came to feedback from his more credentialled playing partners, Lee and Day, who have already featured in one or two masters moments themselves.
Monday at Augusta was always going to be a hectic day for Crowe, with his first official practice round, then tonight, the fabled Amateurs Dinner.
Following dinner, Crowe was expected to spend the night in the club’s famous Crows Nest – accommodation reserved exclusively for amateurs competing in the Masters.
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Tuesday will be no less of an experience, with a 7.00 am tee time on the first pencilled-in for the Asia Pacific Amateur Champion alongside Reigning Open Champ Cameron Smith and the 2013 Master Champion, Adam Scott.
“Team Crowe” is already on the ground, including his parents, Tony and Shaunaugh, and a hardy band from Bardwell Valley and St. Michael’s.
Coach Serhan reports the young gun is hitting it well. It might be a bit cold, and the Azaleas aren’t quite out, but the feedback is that his game will be on full show when the opening round gets underway, just like the famous Augusta floral display.
Not one to shy away from talking up his chances, Crowe told reporters last week he may as well not even tee off if he doesn’t think he can win.
“You’re setting the bar too low for yourself, I think, if you don’t believe you can win,” Crowe told AAP.
“And if you don’t reach that level, you’re falling a lot further than you really wanted.
“If you set the bar really high and you don’t quite reach it, the more times you can surprise yourself by the outcome.”
As for being in the limelight this week, Crowe said he wouldn’t avoid the cameras.
“I relish it,” he said.
“I’m not necessarily going to block it out; I’m going to take it all in and feed off it. Yeah, I just love being in those situations where there’s a lot of people around.
“I feel like this is an opportunity to show myself.”
At the very least, Crowe hopes to finish as low amateur and inside the top 12 to earn an invite next year.
With five tournament victories last year, including his breakthrough against the pros at the NSW Open, Crowe is accustomed to that winning feeling.
“My game’s really, really good. Everything is falling exactly how me and (coach) Johnny (Serhan) wanted it to. It’s in great shape,” he said.