IF all goes to plan this weekend, Batemans Bay teenager Zinyo Garcia could well be lining up alongside the likes of Adam Scott, Justin Rose and John Senden at next month’s Australian Open.
Garcia, 16, will take part in a qualifying tournament on Monday at the New Brighton Golf Club for his chance to tee off at arguably the country’s most prestigious golfing event.
“I’m pretty excited, but nervous as well,” Garcia said on Wednesday.
The Batemans Bay High student has been “practising all day, every day” in preparation for what he described as his biggest challenge yet.
And while he stated he was “pretty confident” of doing well in the qualifier, he refused to get too far ahead of himself.
“I’m pretty confident, but I’ll be up against some proper professionals so it’ll be tough,” he said.
“But it’s exciting – it will definitely be the biggest thing I’ve ever played in.”
Garcia has never played at the New Brighton Golf Club, which is located in Moorebank, south-west Sydney, but has made the most of modern technology in order to familiarise himself with the 18 holes as much as possible.
“I’ve just been looking at (the course) on the internet and I got a yardage book made up, which shows where I can hit the ball,” he said.
“And I’ve been studying it on Google Earth.”
He will also take part in a practice round on Sunday in order to get a real life feel of the course.
Garcia, who has only been playing the sport for about five years, will head into the Australian Open qualifier in good form after some standout recent performances at Goulburn and Kiama, among others.
“I’ve been playing all right lately,” he said.
“I’ve had a few good finishes this year and that gives me the confidence to know I can play well when it counts.”
Garcia’s solid form this year was rewarded with selection in the state squad six months ago and that experience has helped both the physical and mental parts of his game.
“We play with a lot of good players but we also get help from Olympic psychologists,” he said.
“They teach you how to handle things like pressure and how to bounce back when things go bad.”
However, the youngster was also quick to thank another, perhaps more influential, mentor.
“My dad Leo is my coach and he would be pretty proud,” he said.
“He takes me everywhere and really supports me.”