Hometown favourite Zach Murray overcame an emotional week to snare the $25,000 Commercial Golf Resort Albury pro-am on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old fired a five-under par 65 to edge out four players, including previous winner, Manly’s Taylor Cooper.
Murray attended his grandfather’s funeral – John ‘Shocker’ Murray – on Monday.
“He was a hell of a man,” Murray said moments after his win.
“He was a huge supporter of mine and I made a speech and said he was the biggest supporter of mine, outside mum and dad.
“When mum’s dad died, I’ve had his initials on my ball ever since, so I’ll pop ‘Shocker’s’ on the other side.”
He was the biggest supporter of mine, outside mum and dad. When mum’s dad died, I’ve had his initials on my ball ever since, so I’ll pop ‘Shocker’s’ on the other side.Zach Murray
But Murray had a nervous 40-minute wait to see if he could honour his larger than life grandfather with a maiden win in Albury’s biggest event.
Melbourne’s Michael Choi had a three-metre downhill putt on the 11th hole, his last, to tie.
“I stuffed the drive up (he had to play up the next fairway), but I still gave myself a chance of birdie,” he said.
“I thought I hit a good putt, it just didn’t turn, caught the left edge and didn’t drop unfortunately.”
Minutes later, Cooper stood on the par-three 136m 4th hole needing a birdie.
“I knew that, but the pin was tucked and I wanted to give myself a bit of a chance, but the shot didn’t come off (he finished 20m short of the pin, off the front of the green),” he said.
Murray’s round consisted of five birdies and no bogeys, an outstanding achievement on the challenging course.
“I made a good up and down on three, I chipped in on the first for birdie and I made a really crucial up and down on 15, landing an eight-footer for par there and then birded 16 to get me to five-under,” he said.
Murray only turned professional last month and he admits it has made an impact.
“I think the only difference is you think of the money a little bit,” he admitted.
“I’ve never had any money as it is, so it doesn’t really change if I don’t get any.”
Murray claimed $4495 in prizemoney and will now tackle Asian Qualifying School over Christmas.
The event attracted 65 professionals with the highest-profile – Canberra’s Matt Millar, who was coming off a tie for third in the Australian PGA – shooting two-under.
“I really enjoyed it, it’s a great golf course, I’d be happy to play here any day,” he said.
“The greens were very good, I had heard they weren’t quite as quick as previous years, but they rolled very nicely and were a good pace anyway.”
The top five scores were:
- Zach Murray 65
- Taylor Cooper, Michael Choi, Shane Butler, Andrew Martin 66
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