INCHEON, South Korea (October 5, 2016) -- If you've ever picked up a golf club, the lure of Augusta National needs no explaining.
Usually the dreams of most elite amateurs are dominated by turning professional, but these priorities change when you throw an event like the Asia-Pacific Amateur into the mix.
Just ask Queensland’s Anthony Quayle, who is one of six Australians who will contest the 2016 edition at the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, Korea.
If any of Quayle, Cameron Davis, Harrison Endycott, Travis Smyth or Brett Coletta were to win this week, they will join US Amateur champion and fellow Aussie Curtis Luck in the 2017 US Masters field -- providing they maintain their amateur status.
Alongside Davis, Quayle is coming off a high of advancing through the opening stage of Web.Com Tour School over the weekend.
Sitting on the top-25 qualification line with ten holes to play in his final round, Quayle reeled off three birdies and two eagles on the way home to advance with conviction.
With a four hour drive from Florence, South Carolina to Atlanta International Airport following his flourishing finish, you wouldn’t blame the Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club member if he daydreamed of making a professional start on tour next year.
But smack bang in the middle of that drive is Augusta National, and Quayle couldn’t help himself.
“I pulled into Augusta and stood at the front gate and had a look, and I was sort of peeking through the cracks there and it gave me that extra motivation to be there in April next year,” Quayle said.
“The gate is looking down Magnolia Drive. It’s a tall green gate and there’s no holes to look through but you can see bits and pieces.
“It’s not much but it’s enough to get a bit of a taste driving past you can see the back of one of the greens, but I wouldn’t have a clue which one it is.
“Just being there and knowing where it is and what’s happened there and seeing the grand entrance of Augusta National Golf Club and the big sign saying it’s the home of the Maters, it was very cool to see today and it’s really motivated me for next week.”
As a professional, Quayle needs to jump more than hoops to earn a gig at the Masters, an honour usually bestowed upon the world’s top 50 golfers, or any winners in the past year on the PGA Tour.
But as the 7th highest ranked golfer in this week’s field of 120, Quayle stands a great chance to fast track his journey to the most alluring event in golf.
After a week of aiming for the top-25 at Q-School, Quayle is well aware of the high stakes nature of the Asia-Pacific Amateur. The prize pool drops off dramatically after first place, with a start at a British Open Qualification event for 2nd, and nothing but rankings points for 3rd and below.
“I’m glad I’m in a position where [a Masters start] is something I get to think about,” Quayle said.
“This week may lead to me having a chance to hole a putt coming down the stretch to get into the Masters. Regardless of the outcome, these high-pressure moments are something you’re going to learn from pretty quickly.
“It’s something on the line that’s everything you’ve dreamed of for your whole life.
“If I was living in America I recon I’d be driving up to Augusta National every weekend just to have a bit of a look and get a bit of motivation from that.”