As the likes of Adam Scott, Paul Casey and Louis Oosthuizen put the finishing touches on their preparations for this week's Australian Open, championship debutante Andrew Campbell took a different approach.
Instead of studying the intracacies of The Australian layout, he went "home" to play some holes with his caddie at Warringah Golf Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
His preparation might seem a little strange to some – as Warringah and The Australian are poles apart in condotioning, design strategy and sheer size – but the 30-year-old had a simple explanation.
“It is different,” Campbell told Golf Australia magazine of the preparation. “But that’s home to me. So it was just trying to get the juices flowing and I went out there with Sammy (caddie Sam Newbrun) and we just had a hit. And I played awesome and it just freed me up for the week.
“It doesn’t change, they’re golf courses no matter what, and I tried to keep that in my head, and Warringah is always going to be home and I live around the corner, so I’m always going to practise there, then to be able to come out here to such an awesome golf course and such an awesome event, it’s sort of helped me calmed down and relax for the event.”
It is easy to understand why the ponytail wearing, long hitter has an affinity for his home club. His father, Scott, is the current club President, who spoke with a tear in his eye after proudly embracing his son on Friday afternoon at The Australian.
“It’s just been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, I’m choked up. All the hard work, he deserves it. As a family we are very proud of him,” an emotional Scott Campbell said.
“I know how good a player he is, sometimes I don’t think he knew as good a player as he was. I’ve seen him come up through the ranks at Warringah and the other night we announced it to the members that he was playing and I was emotional because the members just love him.”
It is fair to say Andrew also rated the experience fairly highly, despite not putting the scores on the board he would have hoped for.
“Amazing. It’s been the most awesome week, had my friends and family here, and my best mate on the bag. I can’t ask for a better week and a better way to start of my Aussie Open career,” said Campbell, who shot 76-72 to miss the cut.
“I was a little bit nervous, but I think it was more excitement that he brought the nerves on, I was just ready to get into it and give it everything I had this week,” he added when asked of the feelings as he prepared to start his first round on Thursday.
Fully embracing all that came with the biggest start of his career, with victory at the Vanuatu Open two years ago being the previous high point, Campbell and caddie and fellow professional Newbrun shared Instagram stories of arriving at the course each day and enjoying all the perks of a start at one of the most historic events in professional golf.
Part of the Australian Open experience for Campbell was crossing paths with the marquee group of Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey as he made the turn in his second round on Friday and the big name trio closed out their second round. Playing an impressive bunker shot from the greenside bunker at the 9th, Campbell was unfazed by the throng of spectators surrounding the green, revelling in the experience.
“It’s still giving me chills now just talking about it, it’s something that I feel like I could get used to, it’s amazing to have those sort of people in the same field I’m in,” Campbell said of the moment halfway through his round.
“It’s very different having the marquees around and having all the people around it’s very different, it is a completely different feel and an awesome atmosphere and I can’t get enough of it and I can’t wait to tee it up again next year.”
As the second last player into the field not required to go through Monday qualifying, Campbell will have his work cut out for him over the next 12 months if he is to make it back into the Australian Open to be held at Kingston Heath in 2020. But first, a likely game in the Saturday comp at Warringah beckons. That is if he can get a tee time.
“We will have to see if the old man will have me in his group.”