Lin Yuxin sees Australian Open as perfect Masters preparation

Lin Yuxin holds the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship trophy aloft after winning in New Zealand Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

SYDNEY, Australia -- Chinese amateur Lin Yuxin is looking for a little more big-tournament experience at the Australian Open this week as he prepares to tee it up at the Masters in 2018.

Lin earned himself a place in next year's field at Augusta National by winning the recent Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at New Zealand's Royal Wellington. That victory also earned him a start at The Open at Carnoustie at 2018.

Playing the Australian Open for the second time, Lin wants to be a little bit more settled in front of the big galleries expected at The Australian Golf Club, particularly after a fan moment of sorts this time last year.

"I'll probably do a better job because I doubled the first hole last year after seeing Jordan [Spieth] on 13 and 14," Lin said after Wednesday's pro-am.

"I think just the feeling to play in front of the big crowds, and [adjusting to] the hard greens over here. The greens in Australia are kind of hard, so I wasn't really used to that last year. So I'll probably do a better job this year."

Lin triumphed by three strokes at Royal Wellington, storming hope with a final-round six-under 65. He's looking forward to seeing the Auld Claret Jug icon next to his name on the leaderboard, indicating his qualification for The Open, when the Australian Open begins on Thursday.

"All my friends were really surprised but they're really happy for me after I won in New Zealand," Lin said. "They're just really surprised and excited to watch me at the Masters.

"It's just an amazing feeling to have that little sign right next to my name. I haven't had that feeling, so I'll see what it feels like when I see the leaderboard."

As for the growth of the game in China and the prospect of a maiden Chinese major winner, Lin said: "I'm not sure, I mean golf is definitely getting more popular in China. I think we're getting close to a major winner, it might happen in the next couple of years which is what I hope happens."

Meanwhile, Lin's fellow amateur Min Woo Lee will garner some of the local attention in Sydney this week after he finished in a tie for third at the Asia-Pacific Amateur.

The brother of LPGA professional Minjee Lee will be out to improve on last year's Australian Open, in which he finished a credible tied 35th, nine shots adrift of winner Jordan Spieth.

"It's one of the biggest events I've played, last year and also this year," Lee said. "I'm just looking forward to it. It's another tournament, just play the same and hopefully play well. "Hopefully [I hit] straighter shots, hole more putts, chip it closer. My stats have risen and all of those aspects have improved since last year; hopefully it shows this week."