WA win won't hurry Murray

Zach Murray
Photo: Justin Falconer

His bank balance hasn’t budged, but a wire-to-wire win at the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open has changed amateur Zach Murray’s world – and the trajectory of his career.

The 21-year-old from Wodonga woke up on Monday morning in Perth with a phone full of messages and a big decision to make.

But first, a flight to Brisbane for the Isuzu Queensland Open.

“I woke up this morning and it’s just so hard to process,” Murray told Golf Australia.

“I want it to sink in because I want to feel good about it all, it’s just so tough with so much going on and so many things to think about.

“My phone’s about to explode, I’m about to explode, Dad’s about to explode.

“It’s a good problem to have.”

Four birdies in his last seven holes enabled Murray to become the third amateur to win the WA Open since 2012, following in the footsteps of locals Brady Watt in 2012 and Curtis Luck in 2016.

Now he’ll get the chance to replicate fellow Victorian Brett Coletta’s 2016 triumph at the Isuzu Queensland Open.

“It wasn’t like I went ‘superhuman Tiger Woods’ on everybody, I was just doing my thing,” said Murray.

“I made a few putts on the first day, then I hit some good shots at the right time which you need to do to win.

“I definitely had to try and stop myself thinking about ‘what could be’ if I was to win. My mind was wandering when I finished up the first round and it’s still wandering now.”

Despite the decision of Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb to turn pro just in time for the Isuzu Queensland Open, there’ll be no shortage of amateur talent this week in Brisbane.

Murray’s close friend Dave Micheluzzi doubled as his sparring partner throughout Sunday’s final round in Perth, the in-form duo now the favourites for this week’s low amateur honours and clearly capable of taking it to the pros.

They’ll also have the Queensland state team to contend with for the low amateur crown, including young guns Louis Dobbelaar, Jed Morgan and Charlie Dann, as well as a formidable trio from New South Wales in Josh Armstrong, Blake Windred and Jordie Garner.

But if another amateur was to make a charge in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, Murray would love for it to be World No.17 Micheluzzi.

“It’s hard to describe, it was so hard playing against a good mate who I know really well,” Murray said.

“We spend so much time together so to have to try and beat him, knowing that it would be so good for him to win, too, it was hard.

“There’s no malice in it, I just really wanted to win – but it would’ve been nice to see him succeed as well because I know how much he deserves it, too.”

Craig Murray, one of his son’s biggest supporters, was also in the thick of things on Sunday as he doubled his own 2018 win tally as a looper.

Craig carried the bag all week for Zach at Mt Lawley and also during a recent win near home in Bright.

The elder Murray assumes more of a calming influence role than a master tactician when the pair teams up, but it’s no coincidence Zach produced his best golf when his dad was by his side.

“He’s two out of two this year, so he’s on a bit of a roll,” Murray said.

“He helped me read some putts, but he’s just pretty funny – he doesn’t have a filter. There’s no thought process behind the stuff he says, he just says it.

“Any time I crack my nut, he just settles me down and chills me out.”

Despite their recent 100 per cent strike rate, Craig has returned to Wodonga (with the WA Open silverware in his luggage) and won’t carry the bag for the younger Murray this week – but there is sure to be more than a few chats between the pair this week.

The win grants Murray full status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2019  season, assuming he takes the pro plunge.

Three days ago, the plan was to see out the Aussie summer of golf as an amateur and pull the trigger by this time next year.

But with spots in million dollar fields in Sydney, Gold Coast, Barwon Heads, Perth and Fiji now secured, Murray has a decision to make.

He’ll sit down with his long-time coach Marty Joyce in Brisbane on Tuesday to put a plan together for what the next 18 months might look like.

But Murray has already sought counsel from another well-credentialed source – his housemate, Todd Sinnott.

“I was planning on turning pro definitely in the next 12 months, but that might come sooner,” Murray said.

“I spoke to Toddy on the plane before, I had a great chat with him because he’s been through it all before. I’ve got some great people around me so I’m very fortunate.

"It does play on your mind, I really have no idea what I’ll do. It’s not a hard decision because it’s a good position to be in, I’ve got so many options.

“Whatever it is, we’ll run with it and see how we go!”