Inspired Crowe set for Double Assault

Harrison Crowe is not short of inspiration as he prepares to tee it up in two of golf’s biggest and most prestigious championships.

This month, he is looking forward to The Amateur Championship, being held at Hillside for the first time since 2011, when fellow Australian Bryden Macpherson from Melbourne, claimed the trophy.

Next month, he will play in The Open at Royal Liverpool, courtesy of his victory in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last October. Up for grabs is the Claret Jug that another Australian, Cameron Smith from Brisbane, lifted last summer.

Over the years, Australia has had many successes on the links of the UK, from Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle to Greg Norman and Ian Baker-Finch, but it is the current Champion Golfer of the Year that Crowe, a 21-year-old from Sydney, is most keen to emulate.

In another perk of that victory in Thailand last autumn, Crowe was invited to this year’s Masters Tournament, where he played a practice round with Smith. He sees a little of himself in his fellow Australian and looks up to him.

“Even apart from the mullet that we’ve both got, I can see some similarities,” smiled Crowe. “Hearing how he came through the amateur system in Australia, the way he played and the results he got, I can relate to him. People close to him at that time say he was a real competitor and that he hated losing. He’s got that grit and he has shown it multiple times on tour.

“I am a bit like him, but I would love to be more so. What he did at The Open last year was incredible. And having that practice round with him at Augusta National enabled me to see just how well he chips and putts. It’s amazing. He’s got the best short game I’ve ever seen.”

Nor was Smith the only big name with whom Crowe rubbed shoulders at Augusta. In his first two rounds, he played with former champion Larry Mize and fellow Australian Min Woo Lee. In practice, he was joined by compatriots Adam Scott and Jason Day.

Crowe is especially grateful to Scott, who has been hugely supportive since they met at the Japan Open last year. “Whenever I see him, he takes the time to chat, offer a few words of wisdom and reassure me that I deserve to be out there,” he added. “He’s watched me play, he knows my game and he says ‘mate, just keep doing what you’re doing’. Coming from a guy like him, that’s pretty cool.”

With five amateur victories under his belt, Crowe feels ready to turn professional. He would have done it at the end of last year, but the chance to play in two major championships put the plans on hold. He describes himself as a bold, imaginative player with a strong short game and a sharp competitive edge.

He likes a challenge, as he famously showed last year by hitting a shot from the pavement outside the Dunvegan Hotel in St Andrews, over the nearby shops and onto the 18th green of the Old Course. Crowe expected to be reprimanded, but when a video of his audacious effort went viral, the reaction was all positive.

He said, “I didn’t think it would blow up the way it did, but there was no negative backlash. In a way, it kind of showcased my personality, which is nice. It showed that I’m not afraid to take things on. I’m a big believer in staying true to myself and showing people who I am.

“I’m a very outgoing person. If something is on the table to do, I will do it. I’m not one to lounge around the house playing video games. Whether it’s hanging out with my mates, surfing or just being active, I like to be out there enjoying myself, playing golf and travelling the world. There are worse jobs.”

Crowe, 38th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), will be among a strong Australian contingent at The Amateur Championship. New Zealand will also be represented in a field that is truly international – from Sweden’s Albert Hansson, the Boys’ Amateur champion, to South Africa’s Christo Lamprecht, who is eighth in the world.

Last year, Crowe did not progress beyond the stroke play qualifying. This time, he is determined to reach the match play stages because it is a format that brings out the best in him. “When I need to step up or grind it out, I do what  I need to do,” he said. “That’s why I love match play so much.  I feel like I’m such a competitor. I like to put myself in a position and, when I do, I really believe in myself. I’ve got such a drive to play this sport. I want to be as good at it as I can be.”

Hillside is situated in Southport as part of a fine stretch of coastal links on ‘England’s Golf Coast’. The venue has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments in its illustrious history, including the 2022 Cazoo Classic on the DP World Tour and Final Qualifying for The Open on numerous occasions .

Macpherson won The Amateur when it was last staged at Hillside in 2011, beating Scotland’s Michael Stewart in the Final. Southport & Ainsdale is another testing championship course, host venue to the Ryder Cup in 1933 and 1937 and a number of other prestigious championships.

The full field for The Amateur Championship can also be viewed here.

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