It was a tournament he was just happy to finish after a severe bout of food poisoning last year, but a golden ticket to the US Masters and British Open is much more of a reality for Travis Smyth at this year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Australia's top-ranked amateur will spearhead the country's assault on the prestigious tournament in Wellington next week, which comes with the carrot of a start at Augusta and Carnoustie next year for the winner.
Smyth lost eight kilograms and was forced to pull out of a Japan Tour event on the eve of last year's Asia Pacific Amateur in Korea, which was won by compatriot Curtis Luck, who went on to make the cut at the US Masters.
The Wollongong-raised Smyth, who has been as high as No.11 in the world amateur rankings, has delayed turning professional in a bid to win his way into a first major and make the famed walk down Magnolia Lane.
He will be the top-ranked player in the field at Royal Wellington Golf Club.
And it will be the memory of last year's top-15 finish in Korea for his second Asia-Pacific Amateur that will be fuelling his ambition in New Zealand.
"I got an invite into the Japan Tour event through Golf Australia," Smyth said. "I was so excited and got really sick on the way over there. I was in and out of hospital and I didn't end up teeing it up that week.
"I wanted to recover as much as I could for Asian Am and I thought I did a pretty good job of it, but once I got back to Australia there were a few days I still felt sick, but I started to get on the mend. Then I got sick again and I just felt like I had no energy.
"It was an experience I'm kind of glad happened as an amateur and not as a pro when I'm trying to put bread on the table. I hope it doesn't happen again because it wasn't a good time."
The New South Welshman expects his stiffest competition to come from compatriots Harrison Endycott, Dylan Perry and Min Woo Lee after Golf Australia flew its squad to Wellington for a reconnaissance mission last month.
Like Luck, who blazed his way through the amateur ranks and has had several starts on the USPGA Tour this year, Smyth has already beaten the pros, having ambled to a six-stroke win in the Northern Territory PGA last month.
"The whole week ... everything was just together," Smyth said. "It was straight, boring golf and I putted well and all of a sudden I'm 19-under par.
"Golf Australia do a good job here of giving us opportunities to play in the pro events all the time so when we do make the move we can kind of say we've been in this situation before.
"To say I've played well in those situations is a massive confidence boost. The main goal when you turn pro is to try to get as comfortable as possible and I feel like I'm going to be able to do that easily.
"It just came to me that week and I'm hoping I can have another week like that at Asian Am."