Top golfing teen drives records home

TEENAGER Zach Murray continues to rack up the records but this time it’s official.

Just three months after a history-making 62 at Albury, the Catholic College Wodonga student has fired a course-record four-under par 68 at Wodonga.

Murray, 15 and 193 centimetres tall, averaged a whopping 265 metres with his drives last Saturday and missed only two greens on his way to the lowest score on the recently re-rated 6200-metre layout.

Even more impressive was the fact he opened with a bogey before tearing up the four par-5s and taking birdie at the par-3 16th over Felltimber Creek.

Yesterday the unassuming Murray said his golf was progressing in leaps and bounds.

“On the first I took driver and put it into the trees, I just hit it too far and had to come out sideways and scrambled a bogey,” he said.

“But I have learnt there is no rush, the worst thing you can do is go looking for birdies because you’ve lost that shot on the first.

“I just tried to steady down with a few pars and then take advantage of my length of the tee on the par-5s.

“In the end I only missed two greens and with a bit of luck a few putts that just missed, the score could have been 65.

“But I’ll take the record any day.”

Murray’s 62 at Albury in October was the lowest score in 113 years of golf at the club but didn’t go down as a course record as he played off the middle-markers.

But last Saturday was monthly medal day with the markers at the back and the pins in the tightest positions possible.

“I played the back nine on Friday night and saw where they were putting the pins,” he said.

“I don’t think I could have shot that score without it because you knew whether to miss right or left, how much room you had to play with.

“I’ve learnt from my golf in the Melbourne pennants, where the pins are generally protected by bunkers, that sometimes it’s not possible to shoot at the pin.

“You have to be patient, wait for the chances to present themselves.”

Club professional Mandy Buchanan likened Murray to US PGA tournament winner and world No. 90 Marc Leishman who she saw rise through the ranks of junior golf at Warrnambool.

“That was a great round with tough pins that many other people were complaining about,” she said.

“Zach is very similar to Marc Leishman in his approach to the game — he doesn’t get frustrated with bad shots, he just gets on with the job.

“Who knows where he heads in golf but he certainly has that something special.

“But it seems unbelievable that he still hasn’t won a monthly medal — even after a course record he was beaten on a countback on Saturday in A grade.”

Murray was yesterday also celebrating his selection, for the first time, in the Victorian junior squad.

He and eight others will head to Pinjara in Western Australia for the national junior titles — six will be selected for the chance to play in the interstate teams event.

Murray said he couldn’t wait — his passion for the game growing despite an arduous practice schedule.

“I will have three or four sessions in Melbourne between now and April — they will look at strength and conditioning work in the gym, a biomechanics coach looks at our action, a specialist looks at our mental outlook,” he said.

“And then in daylight saving and school term I’m here at the course from about 4pm until dark most weeknights, just working on my game.

“But I love it, I can’t wait to get here, I never get tired of it, never get bored.

“I used to love footy, wanted to be an AFL player but not now — this is what I want to do and I know to succeed that means a lot more hard work.”

Murray, who turns 16 next month, said his strengths were his putting and chipping, his weakness a tendency to dwell on bad shots.

He took up golf at 10, playing off a 36 handicap in his first summer of golf in 2008.

It was 10 by the time he finished that summer and now plays off plus two.

“My game has really toughened up since I’ve been playing in Melbourne but the mental side of the game is something I need to work on.”

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