Going into the Australian Master of the Amateurs, Ryan Thomas put little expectation on himself.
Coming out of the event, the 19-year-old Launceston-born golfer finished second and created some highlights to remember for years to come.
Getting through the first 36 holes two under par, Thomas was given the heads up by Launceston's Ronan Filgate of a windy course but eagled the first hole to start strong.
A double bogey followed but his eighth-hole efforts will be etched in his memory - shooting two on a par five.
"I hit it to about 130 metres out on a short par five down wind and I actually holed it from there and had an albatross for the first time ever in my life and probably the only time ever," he said.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
"It was quite a surreal feeling and it definitely played a big part to keep me in the tournament and it definitely made me feel a bit better about what was happening and bounced back a bit."
Finishing the third day at one over, Thomas headed into the final 18 holes in third - two shots behind leader Lukas Michel, who competed at the 2020 US Masters.
"I understood that I had to play really well to win the tournament and I came out, birdied my first two holes and managed to sneak in front, so I was leading pretty early," he said.
"I really did play solid all day on that Friday, I made some really good putts."
Battling back and forth with Michel, the former Prospect High School student holed out on a tough shot at the 13th and headed into the 16th one shot behind.
Michel defied the odds on the 16th to par after a rough drive and then followed in Thomas' footsteps with an unlikely birdie on the 17th.
"There were two holes there where I really could have grabbed the momentum and ran but he kept it in his hands and then in the last it was pretty simple.
"I ended up losing by two shots, but it was much, much closer than two shots.
"On the last it was quite a bittersweet feeling when there was at least 150 people watching and it would have been a great feeling to hole that putt and get the feeling of winning and everything."
This year's Master of the Amateurs event was held differently to usual with only Australian players or overseas talent living in the country able to enter due to the ongoing global pandemic.
With the likes of Jason Day (2006), Rickie Fowler (2009), Tommy Fleetwood (2010) and Bryson DeChambeau (2015) having played in the tournament previously, the event attracts a strong field, with Thomas invited to the tournament prior to COVID's breakout.
After taking on some of the country's best amateurs, Thomas' next move is one of international proportions, set to head to the United States to attend Indian Hills Community College in Iowa before eventually relocating to the College of Charleston in Carolina.
The up-and-coming golfer will make the move on February 15 having had his original plan of an August 2020 departure significantly altered.
Thomas' performance at the Victoria Golf Club was the best result of a Tasmanian by the tournament with Riverside Golf Club's Filgate failing to make the cut, which was put in place after day three.
Filgate finished at 27 over across his three rounds while Hobart's Hallie Meaburn finished ninth in the women's competition, sitting 23 shots off the pace.
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