Lukas Michel has put his fundraising plans for a plane ticket home to Australia on hold this week, knowing his best efforts at the Masters could mean a longer stay in the US.
A social media post from the Australian amateur, who tees off at Augusta at 11.22pm Thursday night, made waves when he revealed he’d have to buy a business class ticket if he wanted to see his family for Christmas.
The cost of a plane ticket jumped from $1000 to $10,000, a burden for an amateur who isn’t playing for cash.
There was plenty of immediate support and the 26-year-old from Melbourne even tried back channels at Augusta, hoping one of the powerful members “may know an airline CEO”.
But a good result in his maiden Masters could make all those issues redundant.
“Ideally I don’t have to worry about it if I play great this week and get a start next week, turn pro and play professionally for the next few weeks,” Michel said from Augusta.
“I’d have to play incredibly well, the best week of my life, for me to consider turning pro next week. But anything is possible, that’s how I am looking at it.
“I’ve been in touch with the club to try and see if there’s anyone who can help. Augusta members are very powerful people, maybe someone knows an airline CEO. There are a lot of people here with a lot of pull.
“But I am just focusing on the week ahead and trying not to think about it. I’ve got places I can stay until after Christmas. I would like to get home but I am happy to wait it out too.
“I am waiting for the weekend before I commit to any plans.”
Had 3 economy tickets booked all subsequently cancelled due to arrival number restrictions in Aus. Only way home is premium/business/first it seems, or somehow get lucky and not have your economy cancelled. Booking now (quite late) has all the prices jacked up for Xmas. Not good! https://t.co/IjX9mdCE6b
Michel isn’t the biggest name at Augusta this week, so much so the only available photograph is a long-distance shot of him walking down an unknown fairway.
But he’s still been able to indulge in all the Masters things anyone would do at Augusta; snacking down on the ordinary sandwiches and buying up merchandise from the pro shop.
He’s also been making sure he’s better prepared than in his major championship debut at this year’s US Open, where Michel opened with an 80 and missed the cut.
Michel, who earned his place at Augusta courtesy of a win in the prestigious US mid-amateur championship in 2019, has played nine holes with US PGA champion Colin Morikawa among others since arriving at Augusta.
He was comoftable he had enough golf in to have bold hopes for the week.
“My goal, I wanted to set something more than make the cut, my lofty goal is to get an invite back, which is a top 12 finish,” Michel said.
“I feel like if my game is on and I hit it well, my short game is good, there is nothing to stop me from doing that.
“I’ve played with these guys a bit now, and I see they arereally good,. The only difference is they hit fewer bad shots.
“It;s not like they hit it longer or better. I can do everything they do, I just don’t do it as often.
“But getting an invite back, and if I do that I would likely be the low amateur, that’s the goal. If not, hopefully I have made the cut and done myself proud.
“I am just going to enjoy the week, then worry about everything else after that.
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