Amateur Michel Augusta-bound after Open

Amateur golfer Lukas Michel makes his Australian Open debut on Thursday before flying to the US next week to play at Augusta National ahead of the 2019 Masters.

02-Dec-2019 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press

Victorian amateur Lukas Michel is trying not to think about a dream reconnaissance mission to Augusta National next week with his Australian Open debut looming.

Michel, 25, became the first Australian to win the US Mid-Amateur Championship in September - a prestigious United States Golf Association event for over-25s that no international player had won in its 39-year history.

The victor is afforded an invitation to the Masters at Augusta and the US Open, with the latter held at New York's famed Winged Foot course in June.

To get himself in competitive shape before April's Masters, Michel played last week's NSW Open before contesting his first Australian Open.

The 104th Open starts Thursday at The Australian GC in Sydney, with Australian stars Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith headlining alongside international drawcards Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and Paul Casey.

Michel admits a trip to the home of the Masters is in the back of his mind.

"I'm actually going to Augusta next week," an excited Michel told AAP during a practice round at The Australian GC.

"People always say the first time you see Augusta National is quite overwhelming so it will be good to get some of the awe out of the way and be focused when I tee off at the Masters in April.

"I'm going to play the course four or five times over three days to get familiar with Augusta; it's a course that requires a lot of experience and knowledge of where to miss it and where to be aggressive."

Michel is determined to earn a good result at the Masters, his major championship debut.

"I'd like to set my goals high," he said.

"Leading amateur would be nice and I'd obviously like to make the cut.

"Doing enough to get an invite back (via finishing in the top 12) would be an amazing result."

A kid wonder, Michel was recently hired as design associate by acclaimed golf course architect Mike Clayton for his new firm.

"Mike and I have known each other for several years," Michel said.

"I've got an engineering degree, so I can help with drawings and plans and I'm fascinated by course design, so the stars aligned.

"For the short term, I'm focused on becoming a professional golfer but it is great to have that as a career option."

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