ZACH Murray sank a pressure one-metre putt on the final hole of the Victorian Amateur Matchplay at Kingston Heath for a remarkable come-from-behind victory.
The Wodonga 16-year-old was four down halfway through the 36-hole marathon against Australia’s No. 13-ranked amateur Todd Sinnott but a streak of birdies pushed him to a seven-under 65 on the second 18.
He has added his name to a trophy won in the past by household names such as Geoff Ogilvy and Marcus Fraser, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby. All were at least 20 when they won
“To have 65 at Kingston Heath on the Masters set-up is unbelievable,” Murray said.
It comes just a month after Murray won an international tournament in China, finished second in the prestigious Dunes Medal and then returned to the Border as part of Albury’s scratch pennant winning team.
Golf Victoria believes Murray is the second youngest winner. It had to go back to Harry Williams in the 1930s to find anyone younger. He was believed to be 14.
Murray’s inward half was capped by a stunning second shot on the 35th hole that gave him the lead.
Unable to see the flag over a hill, he rifled his six-iron second to within a metre, and sank the putt for birdie, one of four in his final nine holes.
Leading by one at the last, Murray had to play his second from a fairway bunker, before chipping to a metre and sinking the putt for par.
Last night Murray, who has played more than 200 holes of competition golf in six days, said fatigue was setting in.
“I just rode the adrenaline all day,” he said. “It all turned around at the break between the two lots of 18s.
“I’d played conservatively all morning, looked to hit the middle of the greens.
“At four down, I had nothing to lose, I just started going at the flag and it paid off.
“I had eight birdies and a bogey on that second half.
Murray said the shot to the second last was a highlight.
“I couldn’t see the flag from where I was so I walked to the top of the hill and picked out a bush as the target,” he said.
“It was 177 metres and I had no idea until I got to the top of the hill and people started clapping.”
Murray said he was overwhelmed with well-wishers.
“It’s just so great to have the support of everyone back home,” he said.
“But mum and dad have been incredible.
“I’m going to have a break from playing but I’ll go down to Wodonga on Saturday just to thank everyone at the golf club.”
The Catholic College student qualified for the matchplay by finishing inside the top 32 at the four-round Victorian Open that finished on Sunday.
On Monday, he knocked over Australia’s No. 1 junior Ryan Ruffels and then towelled up world ranked amateurs Matt Hinkley and Anthony Murdaca.