Eighteen, an amateur, tee shots a mess – still Goss impresses his star partners

Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott can both remember their nerves jangling as they stepped up for their first tee shots as emerging youngsters playing sandwiched between two tournament headliners.

In his own words, McDowell was ”shitting himself”, while the picturesque surrounds of Kingston Heath remind Scott of his first time in a top-flight group, when he walked the same fairways with Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby in the 2000 Australian Open .

On day one of this year’s Australian Masters at Kingston Heath, McDowell and Scott were the stars.

Eighteen-year-old amateur Oliver Goss was the rising upstart, standing over his ball with driver in hand preparing to show two of his heroes he was worthy of their company.

”I just thought I would hit it as hard as I could and it went perfect, smoked it down the middle,” a relieved Goss said after his round, recalling his tee shot at the 10th hole (his first). That drive was easy to relive, for he had already shut out most of the others.

”I thought I played horrendously off the tee,” he said. ”I haven’t hit it that bad in years.”

The West Australian swears his rusty play off the tee had nothing to do with nerves, either from the galleries following the drawcard group or the drawcards themselves.

”I actually sort of thrive off the big crowds,” he said. ”It makes me not get angry at myself … it stops you from doing something that will make you look like an idiot.”

Playing with Scott and McDowell was a crash course in trying to practise everything coaches had drilled into him for five years. Five years of lessons in five hours.

”To actually see it in person was just awesome,” he said. ”I learnt that Adam Scott is the greatest ball striker I have seen. He hits it so good and so straight, it was just unbelievable.”

Scott was having a good day in what were perfect conditions during the morning rounds. His five-under 67 was good for the lead early in the day, before he was overtaken and settled in a tie for second.

However, it was not as if Goss was holding up the threesome. His one-under made him equal with McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner.

What the youngster lacked off the tee – he hit only seven out of 15 fairways – he made up for closer to the green.

Scott praised his temperament.

”I’m very impressed,” Scott said after his round. ”He just managed to make par from everywhere today. He handled [the pressure] pretty well out there. He knows how to get it around, obviously, and that is a good asset to have at a young age.”

Goss admitted he had to keep ”scrambling and scrambling” to keep his round from falling apart and later headed for the driving range to iron out the creases in his long game.

Goss, who won the West Australian Amateur Open to cap a satisfying year, will move on to the Australian Open in Sydney next month.

He has no plans to turn professional for at least another year – probably two – and is steadfast in his belief that going to college in the US is the right path for him.

Regardless of how he finishes at Kingston Heath, the experience of playing alongside Scott and McDowell has been a great motivator.

”It’s helped me realise that I am closer than I thought, just being able to hang with these guys,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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