Australian golfers Harrison Crowe and Lucas Herbert are hoping their exploits over the next few weeks will fire them to greater heights in 2024.
Crowe will make his first appearance as a professional at the upcoming WA Open and is eager to make his mark now he has shed his amateur status.
Victory at the Asia-Pacific Amateur tournament in Thailand last year earned Crowe a spot in the US Masters and The Open. He missed the cut in both events, and is keen to have another crack at both events in 2024.
After passing up the opportunity to defend the title at Royal Melbourne later this month, Crowe has his sights set on making his mark in the pro ranks. He says he was tempted by the prospect of defending his title, but believes he will garner more benefit from turning professional.
“The past year's been absolutely amazing,” Crowe said. "I learned a lot about myself, my game, and taking information from all the top players in the world was really, really awesome.
"I don't think I've ever been that nervous in the Masters and the Open, but I felt comfortable out there which was a big sign for me to make that next move."
While Crowe has time on his side to climb the ladder as a professional, Herbert faces a very different challenge over the next few months. The 27-year-old has slipped out of the top 50 in the world and needs to regain his position to qualify for his second Masters in 2024.
Herbert is scheduled to compete in the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi and a strong finish there would provide him with a solid platform to work from over the next few months.
He is a best-priced 33/1 to win the tournament at the Country Club of Jackson – odds which place him in the top eight in the outright market. With the best Australian betting sites offering one-fifth the odds for Herbert to finish eighth or better, he could be a decent each-way bet.
Herbert has missed six cuts in in 16 appearances on the PGA Tour this year, securing one top-10 and three top-25 finishes. An opening round 63 at the recent Fortinet Championship was a step in the right direction and Herbert will be eager to take inspiration from that effort.
His upcoming schedule includes appearances on home soil at the upcoming Australian Open and PGA tournaments, and strong performances there could be enough to fire him back into the top 50.
Achieving the feat would guarantee Herbert a spot at the 2024 Masters - something he says is the main focus for every golf professional who is outside the top 50 in the rankings.
“It’s you know, it’s one of my biggest goals toward the end of the year is to get back into the top 50 in the world so I can be there again in April,” Herbert said.
“I think I probably spent 12 months after the event last year just telling stories to anyone. It’s probably the one tournament for me for the year that I’m just happy participating in it.”