ZACH Murray is believed to have matched a feat not achieved since British Open champion Sir Bob Charles in 1954 in winning the New Zealand Open.
The Wodonga talent held the lead from the first round to the finish, just as Sir Bob did 64 years ago, as he claimed the title by two strokes on Sunday.
Murray, 21, finished ahead of compatriot Ashley Hall and New Zealand’s Josh Geary after trailling halfway through the last round.
His 21-under 266 (63, 65, 70, 68) resulted in him collecting $211,724 in prizemoney and a title to add to his WA Open which he won as an amateur in October.
“Starting my career like this is so huge and to win the 100th New Zealand Open - I don’t really think words can describe that,” Murray said after his victory in Queenstown.
“I’ve etched my name in history a little bit, which is really good and I’ll come back and support this tournament as long as I’m a professional. I’m looking forward to playing this tournament for the rest of my life.
“I was speaking to (Sir Bob) just before and I’d never met him before, he’s an amazing man and I reckon if I could have a 10th of the career that he had I’ll die a happy man.”
Starting the final round with a one-stroke lead over Geary, Murray had fallen back to the pack early in the back nine before an eagle and two birdies from the 13th to 15th holes propelled him towards victory.
Fellow Border golfer Marcus Fraser, who finished at 7-under, was on hand to congratulate Murray at the end of his round.
For his win, Murray earns full status on the Australasian and the Asian tours until the end of the 2021 season.
He is now second on the Australasian order of merit which is led by New Zealander Ryan Fox who finished tied for 11th yesterday.
Albury councillor Henk van de Ven was among those in the gallery as Murray received the Brodie Breeze Trophy for winning the New Zealand Open following a Maori dance.
Previous big-name victors in the open include major winners such as Michael Campbell (New Zealand), Corey Pavin (United States) and Peter Thomson (Australia).