Australian caddie becomes first international to win U.S. Mid-Am Championship

September 20, 2019

An Aussie amateur has booked his ticket to Augusta National. Lukas Michel triumphed over Joseph Deraney 2 and 1 at Colorado Golf Club Thursday, becoming the first international champion of the event.

Michel birdied four of his final six holes to flip the 36-hole match late. He had reached the 30th hole of the match 1 down, but birdied 12, 14, 15, and 16 to put the clamps down on his opponent. As a result of his win, Michel will earn an invite to play in the 2020 Masters as well as the 2020 U.S. Open, held at Winged Foot.

Michel, 25, was the 281st-ranked amateur in the world entering this week. He was 3 down multiple times during the match, but putted very well to keep his game afloat. “Putting is the last thing you do on a hole, so when you’re having a good putting day it’s obviously going to look like you’re doing everything you can to get back in the hole, which is I guess what I did,” Michel said afterward. “It wasn’t my best ball striking day. It was mediocre. Joe hit the ball way better than me. When you’re putting good it always looks like you’re sort of coming from behind and making it happen.”

The mid-am champion has garnered plenty of underdog press in recent years with the invite to the Masters. Stewart Hagestad, who Michel beat in the semifinal match, made the cut at Augusta National in 2017 and finished T36 as the low amateur. Matt Parziale didn’t have as much luck as Hagestad at Augusta, but he did play a practice round with Tiger Woods, and eventually made the cut at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock.

Michel will have just more than six months to think about his first tee shot at Augusta National. In the meantime, he’ll return to Australia, where he works at a driving range and caddies at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.