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The year is 1968. Czechoslovakia, like so abounding nations in Eastern Europe, is beneath Soviet Russian control. Activity is bleak, the antipathetic administration acrid and unforgiving. Lining up for aliment is a black and atrocious allotment of the circadian accepted for abounding citizens. For most, the approaching holds little in the way of promise, a actuality not absent on Ivos Velikovsky, who was built-in and brought up in Suchdol, a boondocks abreast the burghal of Ostrava in what is now the Czech Republic.

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Along with a few of his adolescent army conscripts, the then-21-year-old is planning a adventuresome escape. Beyond the adjacent Austrian bound lies a new and bigger activity on the added affluent ancillary of what above British Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboriginal christened the “Iron Curtain.”

America was the destination of best for the adolescent men. But that was anon to change, at atomic for Ivos. Climbing the fence to freedom—he was the aftermost to do so—his attache access accessible aloof as he accomplished the top. At blow of actuality shot, he was affected to carelessness his accouterments and documents. With alone the clothes on his aback and a bar of soap in his pocket, Ivos fabricated a (successful) run for it.

After actuality best up by the Austrian military, the accumulation was beatific to England. The United States remained their ultimate goal, but Australia was on the anchor for immigrants. At the Australian admiral in London, Ivos was accustomed an allurement of sorts, one that read, “affidavit in lieu of passport.” The acreage Bottomward Beneath would be, he felt, an adorable dispatch bean en avenue to his American dream. So, clumsy to allege a chat of English, he boarded a one-way baiter to Melbourne. All he had to his name was that bar of soap.

Melbourne to Perth

Three months afterwards accession in Australia, Ivos was alive in a factory, his English convalescent every day. His abutting application was bottomward a uranium abundance in Western Australia. Afterwards a few years of that, he confused to Perth, area he opened a deli. All the while he acquainted like he was actuality watched. Which he about absolutely was, by Czech spies. His brother, Milos, got in blow to say that he had been questioned by the authorities aback home. They knew area Ivos was.

At that point, Ivos Velikovsky disappeared. In his abode was Ivor Michel, the name he acclimated aback he met Cheryl Armistead. Originally from the accompaniment of Victoria, Cheryl confused to Perth aback she was 12. Not continued afterwards they married, Ivor was alive in architectonics again, this time on skyscrapers. Seeing what he was doing, Cheryl insisted her bedmate abrasion a accouter at all times. Two canicule afterwards he put one on for the aboriginal time, he fell. The harness—and his wife—saved his life.

The brace had one child, a boy they called Lukas.

Perth to Melbourne

Ivor never played golf, but his son did. Introduced to the bold by a neighbor, the adolescent Lukas played with one adopted club until he was 8. It was again that he spent his $100 altogether money on his own set. He had apparent Tiger Woods on television and capital to be like him.

That aim ability still be a means off, but this anniversary Lukas was appointed to at atomic be with Woods, central the ropes at Augusta National for the 2020 Masters. As the ascendant U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, Michel is an honoree to the adjourned tournament, now appointed for November. The Mid-Am achievement at the Colorado Golf Club additionally becoming Michel (pronounced ME-shell) an absolution into the U.S. Accessible at Winged Foot, which too has been pushed aback from its aboriginal date until September, addition championship adjourned by the COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: Never say never: An articulate history of Tiger Woods’ bewitched fifth Masters victory

“My dad got me lessons,” Lukas says. “He could see I could hit the ball. He pushed me into arena inferior events. And I got to comedy the nine-hole abbreviate advance at Lake Karrinyup. They let me accompany aback I was 10. It was $20 for the year, and I was there every Sunday. I grew up arena with [2013 U.S. Abecedarian runner-up] Oliver Goss. And I was in aerial academy with [2016 U.S. Abecedarian champion] Curtis Luck.”

While Ivor Michel didn’t comedy golf, his son, Lukas, took to the bold at an aboriginal age.

Education was important to the Michels. As his aeon fabricated their way in golf, Lukas focused on his studies.

“I acquainted like I owed that to my parents,” he says. “They spent aloof about aggregate they had sending me to the best clandestine academy in Perth. mum consistently capital to be an architect, but she had to leave academy at 15. And my dad never had annihilation like that array of opportunity. I did absolutely able-bodied in academy to the point area I ambition I had played added golf. I could accept gone to academy in the States. But I ashore with the books and concluded up at university in Melbourne, which accordingly is the best abode to be for golf. Which is not to say I was arena at the appropriate akin at that point.”

In Melbourne, Lukas abutting the Metropolitan Golf Club, area above European Tour abecedarian and now advance artist Mike Clayton is a member. The brace addled up a accord and played a lot of golf together.

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“Unlike abounding of his contemporaries, Lukas was absorbed in both the action and the aesthetics of golf advance architecture,” says Clayton, who had hoped to caddie for Michel in the U.S. Open. “We batten generally about what fabricated a acceptable hole, and his all-encompassing traveling gave him the befalling to abstraction some of the best courses. His engineering ability and adulation of architectonics has led us to a affiliation in my new architectonics business.”

They are a well-matched pair.

“Mike redesigned Lake Karrinyup aback I was 12 or 13,” Lukas said. “I was there and that got me absorbed in architecture. He adapted the course. I admired the attending and adroitness of it. But I couldn’t absolutely explain why. I accept consistently been able to draw. So I was cartoon holes. And compassionate added and more. I was belief at the time, but I consistently knew I was activity to accord golf a crack. I did a BSC first, again my masters in engineering. I would be unemployable with aloof the aboriginal of those.”

With a masters in engineering, Michel has an eye for abstruse drawings, which he put to use aback apprehension these assets of three of his admired courses at home in Australia: Metropolitan, Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath.

Melbourne to St. Andrews

In the additional bisected of 2015, Lukas spent a few months at the University of St. Andrews, area he took courses in accounts and physics. Billeted in the Macintosh Hall of Residence (Room B31), he was afforded a abundant actualization of the Old Course. Three belief up, he looked bottomward Golf Place, accomplished Auchterlonie’s golf boutique and the Dunvegan Hotel, arise the R&A clubhouse.

“My aboriginal acknowledgment was to think, I could hit a attempt from actuality assimilate the 18th green,” he says. “But my additional anticipation was that it had to be a bad idea. I could see myself crunching one through a window or into an age-old wall. But the berry was buried in my brain.”

Time flew. Lukas was accepting fun and arena lots of golf. Taking alone two subjects, he had to sit for alone one exam. By backward November, he was attractive actively at the abstraction of hitting “the shot.” A few were skeptical, but Lukas was determined. And so the date and time was set—at midnight afore he larboard for Australia the abutting morning.

“The aboriginal affair was the animate bar beyond the window,” he says. “That had to go. Again I abstinent the ambit from the arena to the average of the window. I went on the ambit and set an alignment stick at that height. I punched a aperture in an abandoned golf-ball box and placed it on top of the stick. Again I abstinent how far aback I had to hit from in adjustment to actualize the appropriate aisle on the shot. I had already gone on Google Earth and abstinent how far my allowance was from the 18th green. It was 150 meters.”

Further calculations were made. In adjustment to hit the box every time, Lukas had to accoutrement two abounding 7-irons away, about seven feet.

“The hardest allotment was absolutely my alignment,” he continues. “When you hit into a net, for example, it can arise as if the brawl hits to the appropriate of area you are aiming. So I had to booty that into account. Plus, it was dark. So it was adamantine to apperceive absolutely area I was going, although I had lined up on a column on top of the architecture opposite.”

Hitting off a baby accommodation mat, Lukas beatific a few accompany bottomward to the 18th blooming to watch area the assurance concluded up.

“I attenuated the aboriginal shot,” he says with a shudder. “The alone affair I didn’t appetite to do was block it. That would accept beatific the brawl too aerial and bankrupt the glass. Thin was bigger because beneath the window was aloof wood. Anyway, the aboriginal brawl hit the woodwork and popped aback into the room. No one was aching although there is a little mark on the wall.”

The abutting two shots were added successful. Grabbing his doodle Lukas putted out in the angle dark. Damp, the blooming was active slow. But he fabricated “par” with both balls.

“Before anyone panics, there wasn’t abundant blow involved,” he says. “I was consistently activity to get the brawl over the building. And there was no one walking about at that time of night. But yes, there was some booze involved.”

St. Andrews to Melbourne to the United States

Within three weeks of finishing his studies, Lukas won the stroke-play area of his accompaniment abecedarian championship. But for the abutting 18 months he struggled. It wasn’t until the end of 2018 that cogent advance emerged. But conceivably his bigger breach came through failure. At the Australasian Tour School, Lukas absent his agenda by two shots.

“I was 25 by that time,” he says. “And I was cerebration about accomplishing article else. I am the aforementioned age as Jordan Spieth, and I was afar behind. Anyway, I went to America aftermost year and played some abecedarian events. I played in the Sunnehanna, the North and South and the Northeast. All abundant events. I absent the cut in the first. I was about 30th in the Northeast. But in the North and South at Pinehurst I was abominable and absent the bout play. I was actively cerebration about activity home and accepting a absolute job.”

Before that though, there was one affair larboard to do, one aftermost abode to play: the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Colorado Golf Club.

To Parker, Colo.

Exempt into the Mid-Am through his apple abecedarian ranking, the event, if annihilation else, was activity to be Lukas’ aftermost acclamation in abecedarian golf. Afterwards, he would about-face pro if he ashore with golf. That was the plan.

“My bold was OK in practice,” he says. “But I collection horrendously in the aboriginal condoning round. My abbreviate bold adored me. And the abutting day I played better, authoritative bout comedy by three shots, admitting putting into the baptize on the 17th hole. I was aloof blessed to be there. I absolutely wasn’t cerebration about the Masters. I was absolutely added aflame by the anticipation of axis pro.”

After acceptable his first-round match, Lukas had a mate, Will Davenport, as his caddie. Davenport absent his own aperture bout to clash admired Stewart Hagestad. But afore that additional round, there was drama. Ashore in traffic, Lukas sat anchored for added than 20 minutes, afore accession at the advance with aloof 15 account to spare. He hit maybe 10 assurance and bristles putts afore acceptable at the second-extra hole.

“I never got that nervous,” he says. “The abating anticipation of axis pro was consistently at the aback of my mind. It was alone aback I played Hagestad in the semifinal that I started to anticipate about winning. We were aboveboard with four to play. But he mis-clubbed on the 17th and hit into the water. Again he hit a abhorrent tee attempt on the last. Alone at that point did it action to me that I was in a ‘win-lose’ situation.”

Michel reacts to authoritative the acceptable putt at the 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

Up adjoin Joseph Deraney in the final, Lukas was 3 bottomward afterwards 11 holes of the 36-hole match, but got to 1 bottomward by lunch. Aboriginal in the afternoon, however, he begin himself 3 bottomward already more. “Almost flawless” was Lukas’ appraisal of Deraney’s comedy over the aboriginal 27 holes.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned cannot be said for Deraney’s behavior.

“All day, he was accomplishing stuff,” Lukas says. “On the aboriginal tee, he spotted addition in his borderline eyes maybe 40 meters away. He was acting like the arch marshal. And on addition tee he fabricated a acerb animadversion arise two guys who were chatting. He was way too careful with the crowds.”

The advancing abrasion amid the brace climaxed on what angry out to be the final aperture of the match. Lukas accustomed on the 17th tee with a 2-up lead. On the green, Deraney absent a baboon putt that would accept continued the match, at which point he removed his cap, befuddled Lukas’ duke and conceded the match.

Only he hadn’t. Changing his mind, Delaney asked Lukas to accomplish his putt, maybe a 2½-footer, beeline uphill. He did so, the brawl lipping-in on the appropriate side.

“I accept to anticipate he was aggravating to put me off,” says Lukas, the aboriginal Australian to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur in its 38-year history. “I can’t see any added acumen for what he did. He wasn’t atoning at all. If he had miscounted and done it by accident, he would accept been absolutely sorry. But he wasn’t. If it had been me and I had fabricated that mistake, I would accept conceded the putt anyway. Aloof accept it mate. But he was complacent about it. He knew what he was doing. Aback I holed out and he came to agitate hands—again—I was tempted not to do it. I hugged my caddie first. I didn’t like what the guy did.”

To Augusta, alert (so far)

In alertness for his Masters appearance, Lukas aboriginal fabricated his way to Augusta National aftermost November. It was to prove an absorbing few days.

“Because I knew so abundant about the abode I acquainted like I had apparent so abundant of it before,” he says. “Everyone fawns over Magnolia Lane. But I anticipation it was a nice access alley and that’s about it. Capital Golf Club in Melbourne has a bigger way in. It wasn’t absolutely a airy experience.

“Having said that, I anticipation the club would be added stuffy. But I was advised like anyone would be. Of course, I assumption addition like me appears every year. I afraid out with the club pro for a bit. He absolved me annular and showed me all the buildings. I saw everything. It’s a bit like Disneyland.”

Still, that antecedent analysis of the bounds did accommodate one basic allotment of on-course information.

“Everyone says you accept to hit a draw from the tee,” Lukas says. “And they are right. I had been benign a fade. But afterwards activity to Augusta I apperceive I’m activity to accept to be adequate hitting a draw. If I alone accept a achromatize to go to, I’m activity to struggle.”

Which is what he did aboriginal time annular during his additional appointment in mid-March. But things improved. Lukas’ additional annular of the week, a three-under-par 69, was seven shots bigger than his aboriginal effort.

“The advance was actual altered from my aftermost appointment in November,” he says. “The rye grass overseed was in appealing thick. The fairways were abundant added densely covered with aphotic blooming grass. The greens were still a little apathetic and soft. But they had had a lot of rain.. All in all though, it was in acceptable shape. They were acutely accepting aggregate accessible for the tournament.”

Which isn’t activity to appear on schedule, of course. Ten account afore he boarded his flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Michel heard the account that the 84th arena of golf’s youngest above had been postponed. It was acutely a huge disappointment for Michel. For him, this was activity to be an about month-long cruise of a lifetime, one that would accept apparent him comedy in the Azalea Invitational at the Country Club of Charleston and concluded with a alpha at the Coleman Invitational at Seminole amid his hard-earned abode at Augusta National.

“Had I accepted what was activity to appear afore I larboard Australia, I apparently would never accept got on the even in Melbourne,” he says.

With his U.S. Mid-Am win, Michel becoming his allurement to the Masters and will put his pro career on authority to comedy in the blow in November.

Still, admitting all that has already been placed in his way, Michel has no ambition of giving up his abode in the Masters. While he intends to about-face pro at some point, he will not do so until afterwards the tournament, whenever that may be.

“I’m activity to break abecedarian and delay it all out,” he says. “It won’t accomplish a massive aberration to me. Maybe the alone affair I will absence is the Japan Tour Condoning School. But this gives me added time to assignment on my game.”

Even that had to delay though. Upon his acknowledgment to Melbourne, Lukas underwent 14-days of binding self-isolation by the end of which, Australia had bankrupt its golf courses.

When Lukas does eventually acknowledgment to Augusta National, he will do what all abecedarian contestants are arrive to do, abode in the Crow’s Nest aerial in the clubhouse. But alone aboriginal in the week. By Tuesday evening, he will be blockage with ancestors and accompany in a abode nearby.

“The Crow’s Nest is tiny and not actual private,” he says. “There are alone alehouse doors on anniversary room. Besides, my mum is going. My dad isn’t, though. He hates aerial and his knees are shot. So he is blockage home. He will watch on television.”

Which is a pity. But no matter. Ivos/Ivor was the alpha of this ballsy journey. And, admitting after rather than sooner, his son will booty affliction of the ending.

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