Curtis Luck begins Australian Open with 5-under 67, is tied for lead
Curtis Luck <br>(New Zealand Golf Photo)
Curtis Luck
(New Zealand Golf Photo)

ROSE BAY, Australia (November 17, 2016) -- Reigning U.S. and Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Curtis Luck has opened his Australian Open with a 5-under 67 and he is presently tied for the lead with Lucas Herbert.

Luck, playing alongside two-time major winner Jordan Spieth and 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilivy, was the low man in the group with his seven birdie and two bogey round.

"I played pretty well today," Luck told Golf Australia. "I just managed myself really good I think and that was key to shooting 5-under out there. When I hit a bad shot I made up for it through (course) management."

Beginning on the 10th hole at Royal Sydney Golf Club Luck birdied his first hole and then No. 15 to turn in 2-under 34.

"There were (nerves on the first tee) which I think is a good thing but Jordan (Spieth) and Geoff (Ogilvy) were both great with me so I settled down pretty quick and it was easy to get back to business," continued Luck.

Heading for home Luck reached 4-under with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 only to bogey the next two holes to return to 2-under. Undeterred the 20-year-old bounced back with birdies on each of the next three holes before finishing with a par on the 9th.

"We had a lot of fun out there as a group," a 3- under Jordan Spieth said." Curtis (Luck) has a really impressive short game and obviously he struck the ball nicely as well but anytime he got into trouble it felt like it was a tap in which is something you definitely need to have to contend for a championship."

Besides Luck four other amateurs are under-par after 18-holes.

Travis Smyth is 3-under in a tie for eighth, Harrison Endycott and Daniel Hillier are part of a big group at 2- under in tie foe 16th while Brett Coletta is tied for 33rd at 1-under.

Smyth got as low as 4-under during his round before settling for a 69 that left him just two off the pace. During his five birdie, three bogey round Smyth's best golf came from Nos. 6-8 when he carded circles on all three holes.

Endycott was able to overcome a rocky start to reach red figures with still three rounds remaining. Teeing of on No. 10 Endycott double-bogeyed the 15th to fall to 3-over before turning things around. Endycott responded with birdies on two of the three next holes and then rolled in four more birds against only one bogey on his second nine.

Daniel Hiller reached the 2-under mark with a five birdie, three bogey round. Starting on the back nine Hiller converted his first birdie on his opening hole. From their birdies came on Nos. 13, 16, 1 and 2.

Recent Queensland Open winner Brett Coletta was able to remain in red figures despite a pair of double- bogeys. Coletta came storming out of the gates with a bogey-free 4-under 32 on the frontside. However, the the two blemishes on the 11th and 17th holes dropped him back to 1-under before he was able to regain some momentum thanks to a closing hole birdie.

The Rest of the Amateurs

Min Woo Lee (E; T50)
Zach Murray (+1; T69)
Connor Syme (+1; T69)
Yuxin Lin (+2; T93)
Zhengkai Bai (+3; T110)
Austin Bautista (+3; T110)
Kazuki Higa (+3; T110)
Zhihong Zhang (+3; T110)

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ABOUT THE Australian Open

The Australian Open is Golf Australia's National Open Men's Championship, and is sanctioned by the Australian PGA Tour and forms part of the ONEASIA series of events. Many of Australia's top amateurs qualify for the event.

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