ZACH Murray’s first visit to Japan was a knockout — in more ways than one.
The 195-centimetre rising star of Australian golf forgot about ceiling and door heights in the land of the Rising Sun as he made a late dash for the team bus headed to the first day of practice at the Ishino Course at Chukyo Golf Club in Toyota.
About five minutes passed before a golfer from a rival nation found an unconscious Murray on the floor.
“I really can’t remember, I was running for the bus and the next thing I knew one of the boys from Mexico was there,” he said.
“I knocked myself out and even a couple of days before the tournament I wasn’t sure I was going to be well enough to play.
“I just had a relentless headache and was constantly drowsy.”
Murray, 17, finished tied for 9th in a tournament ranked only behind the US Boys Open in worldwide prestige.
American-based Venezuelan Jorge Garcia, 18, won for the second year in a row, Australia finishing fourth in the team’s event behind Norway, the US and Venezuela.
“I got a chance to play with Garcia on the third day and it was an education,” Murray said.
“He has already made a cut at a PGA tour event so he’s a great golfer but an even better putter.
“He didn’t hit it long but he just put the ball on the green and then sank the putt.
“I think I actually hit the ball better than Garcia but he had seven or eight less putts than me.”
Murray said he is becoming a seasoned traveller but had struggled to adjust to the heat and altitude in Toyota.
“We were probably hitting the ball 10 per cent further and, after the cold and wet back home, it was a big change,” he said.
“When I could hit driver it was travelling more than 300 metres, while on one hole from the rough about 160 metres out I was forced to play a pitching wedge.
“It was probably the best ball-striking tournament that I have played.
“To finish top-10 gives me a bit of confidence heading to the US later this month.”