Dublin, OH — A total of 12 people gathered around the first tee at 7:40 Saturday morning as the announcement introducing 20-year-old Australian golfer Curtis Luck as the first pairing.
“First and only on the tee from Perth, Australia, Curtis Luck,” the first hole announcer said.
Quickly the silence was broken by a bird flying right into the line Luck was aiming at down the first fairway.
“I guess it’s not an only,” Luck’s caddie Matt “Bussy” Tritton cracked.
Playing in a nearly three hour round, it certainly felt lonely at times for Luck who shot a 3-over par 75 placing him at 6-over par after three rounds of play at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
“It wasn’t a whole lot of fun to be honest,” Luck told reporters following the round. “It was the first time I’ve actually played promptly in a one-ball. At the front of the field it’s pretty tough, I didn’t have very much momentum to start the day. Unfortunately playing by yourself you don’t get much of a chance to breathe. You’re just straight into the next shot and you’re not waiting on a playing partner. It’s hard to get into a good rhythm out there.”
Luck struggled to hit the fairways using driver on several holes but hit just four of Muirfield Village Golf Club’s 14 fairways. He paid the price, making just one birdie which came on the par-4 third hole.
That birdie came after two bogeys to open his third round. His first came on the opening hole when his approach shot hit beside a sprinkler and a ruling was needing. Luck got a free drop but was unable to get up and down.
On his second hole, Luck three putted from the fringe as he decelerated through his first putting stroke.
“The problem for me is that I’m really quick, I actually like I have to slow down because if I go too fast, my caddie can’t keep up,” said Luck. “It’s just a really weird experience out there. If you’re not hitting good, the way I play I’d be three holes ahead if my caddie if I was playing fast as I could.”
Luck turned in a 2-over par 38 on his first nine which reached the point of frustration on his ninth hole.
Again Luck hit driver off the tee and hated his shot almost as soon as he finished his release.
“Ooh god, ***k,” Luck exclaimed as he dragged his club on the concrete. He was able to finish the hole with a par, something which became a theme for most of his final nine holes.
As Luck continued to miss fairways, he spun his driver around in frustration and then on 13 he nearly took out DYST Now’s Chris Dazen who was standing well past the left rough. Dazen was spared by a bounce off the tree.
Dazen pointed out the ball to Tritton and explained how Luck got a break and the caddie made small talk both thanking him and offered some advice.
“You should tell him that,” Tritton said. “He has had no luck today.”
Luck’s most impressive escape came at 15 when his tee shot nearly went out of bounds on the left and his second shot hit a branch leaving an awkward lie and a jump over the small body of water to change clubs. Luck was able to earn a par that hole.
“Scrambling has always been a key of my game,” said Luck. “Even when things aren’t going right, you usually still try pretty hard, so sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. I feel like a lot of the time this week they haven’t gone my way.”
While Luck did have a small following, he felt alone almost the entire round and frequently talked to Tritton, it most felt like a lonely round, something which led to a feeling of misery.
Luck will not have to worry about going out as a single during Sunday’s final round since Si Woo Kim withdrew on the 17th hole and his countryman Matthew Griffin is two shots worse off.
After Luck’s final round on Sunday, he will prepare for U.S. Open qualifying Monday in Columbus at Brookside Golf & Country Club and Lakes Golf & Country Club.