BORDER golf prodigies Zach Murray and Frazer Droop will tee it up in the biggest tournament of their fledgling careers today.
The teenage amateurs earned a start in the Victorian Open at the 13th Beach Links after a stellar 12 months in which both climbed into the top-10 of the national rankings.
The start list includes European tour players and winners in both the men’s and women’s game, as for the second year in a row the Open includes both sexes at the Creek and Beach layouts at Barwon Heads.
The men’s field also includes PGA veteran and inspirational cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle in his second tournament after his latest bout with leukaemia.
Lyle and his brother Leighton took the Border pair for a practice round on Monday, offering tips and advice about golf and life on the tour.
Droop said it was his biggest tournament but was simply enjoying the hype.
“We played the Creek course and it’s a really great layout,” he said.
“It’s a typical sandbelt set-up where if you get off the fairways you are in deep rough and will really struggle.
“The layout is long but the fairways are pretty hard and the ball is running a long way so it is not really playing to that yardage.
“It was also pretty special to play with Jarrod and get his views on the course and life on the tour in the US.”
Droop will hit off at 9am from the first at the Beach course, Murray following him on the same layout at 12.40pm.
Thurgoona’s Lindsey Wright will tee up in the women’s draw after a tie for 39th at the Australian Open last weekend.
Droop and Murray, both 16, are coming off a weekend training camp as part of the Victorian Elite Squad — a program designed to fast track golfers into the Victorian Institute of Sport and Golf Australia National squad.
Murray said the drills and sessions were a perfect lead in to the four-day tournament.
“Both of us are preparing as we would for any other tournament, getting used to the course and where to hit it,” he said.
“We had a round today and hopefully get out there again after the pro-ams on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“But after the weekend and that first round today I’m feeling good, feeling confident.”
Murray said he had learned his lessons from his first professional tournament two weeks ago.
In contention after the first round of the Victorian PGA, Murray missed the cut after a bad second round which included a triple bogey on a par 5.
“These tournaments are a steep learning curve,” he said.
“In the PGA I really just had a bad hole, lost it into the water off the tee and never recovered, but you have to learn from your mistakes.”