Victorian amateur Zach Murray stormed into the clubhouse recording an emphatic victory at the Nexus Risk Services WA Open.
A wire-to-wire winner, Murray fired rounds of 64, 70, 69, 69 for a tournament total 16-under 272 to win by two shots from fellow amateur David Micheluzzi.
Murray put on a show for the crowds on the back-nine reeling off birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to ensure he headed to the 18th tee with a four-shot lead.
“I am sort of starting to calm down now; the adrenaline has been running high all day. I came home really strong which was really nice under the pressure,” Murray said.
“I holed a really big putt on 12 for birdie and that calmed me down. I hit a great shot into 13 and missed it. Then hit probably one of my worst shots for the week on 14 and made bogey. That made me re-set. I had finished well on the last few holes all week so in the back of my mind, I knew I could do it, which was crucial.
“It was nice to birdie 15 and 16. Then I hit probably two of the best shots I hit all week on 17 to have a two-putt birdie. It definitely made it a lot easier having a four-shot lead going down the last.”
While his playing partner Micheluzzi made a birdie on the 72nd hole of the tournament and Murray made a bogey, the trophy still went to the 21-year-old who had his dad looping for him.
“It feels pretty special and it’s pretty cool to have Dad here caddieing for me,” Murray said. “I knew Dad was going to cry if I won, which he did. He works super hard to support my golf. It was so cool to have him here this week, to witness a win I haven’t had in a while, and my first win on the PGA Tour of Australasia.”
Murray becomes the third amateur in seven years to win the WA Open after Oliver Goss achieved the feat in 2012 as did Curtis Luck four years later.
“This means a lot; it is something I have been striving towards ever since the WA Open last year,” added Murray, who finished tied for ninth last year. “It was really good for my confidence so I would say the WA Open will forever be a big part of my career and life.”
With his win Murray has earned full status on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2019 season, should he decide to turn pro in that time. However, it is a decision that he won’t rush into.
“I definitely had plans of turning in the near future but I have no idea what I will do,” Murray said. “I have had a couple of mates turn pro, Brett Coletta and Ben Eccles who have won on tour as well; from their experience, I know that it is a pretty tough decision. It’s one that I will have to sit down and have a good hard think about. It’s going to be my job so I don’t want to rush into things. I just have to make the best decision I can.”
Finishing outright third on 13-under the card, Matt Millar has walked away with the winner’s prize cheque of $15,000. At 10-under the card, Jordan Mullaney, Blake Proverbs, Stephen Leaney, Brett Rankin and Damien Jordan all shared fourth place.