Rubbing shoulders with major golf champions Hannah Green and Minjee Lee over the last 48 hours, Newcastle's Ella Scaysbrook feels like a maiden Australian Open has begun to sink in.
While many other HSC finishers are enjoying "Schoolies" or taking up holiday jobs, 17-year-old Scaysbrook will tee off at the prestigious tournament in Sydney on Thursday.
The Macquarie College graduate qualified for the women's field in dramatic fashion earlier this week, prevailing in a seven-hole play-off with just "15 minutes until it was dark".
"I feel like it didn't really sink in how big of a tournament it was to be playing in on the day that I qualified," Scaysbrook told the Newcastle Herald on the eve of her Australian Open debut.
"Even dad said to me 'I don't think you realise how big this is'. Just because it was so intense I guess, drove home [Monday night] and then went to bed.
"I feel like it's kind of sunk in being around everyone [on Tuesday], meeting Hannah Green and Minjee [Lee]. Seeing all of them there."
Scaysbrook, a Newcastle Golf Club member who lives at Glendale, holds a degree of home-course advantage having linked with The Australian last year.
With the event spread across two venues, Scaysbrook opens at The Lakes before playing round two next door on Friday.
"It means a lot, my first Australian Open at 17. I'm looking forward to playing in the same field as some of the best golfers in the world. And just the atmosphere of professional golf because that's what I want to do," she said.
Scaysbrook tied fifth after an even-par qualifying round at Ryde-Parramatta on Monday, but with only five spots available a play-off was required. She eventually overcame Japanese opponent Nika Ito on what was the 25th hole.
"It felt really good, knowing I'd done it. One of the things I really wanted to make ... it gives you that confidence," she said.
Scaysbrook, who has won NSW CHS and NSW Junior titles earlier this year, will contest the Bonville Champions Trophy next week before travelling to Melbourne in January for Master Of The Amateurs and the Australian Amateur.
In the men's Australian Open draw, Hunter qualifier Corey Lamb plays The Australian on Thursday alongside Newcastle professionals Blake Windred and Andrew Dodt.