Victorian amateur Zach Murray has fired into the first round lead at the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open after equalling the course record at Mount Lawley Golf Club.
Playing in the morning field and starting on the 10th tee, Murray got off to a steady start with six straight pars before making birdies at the 16th and 17th to be two-under the card at the turn.
Murray ignited on the front nine, reeling off six birdies to be in the clubhouse at eight-under 64 and equal the course record set by Mitchell Brown in 2003.
“It’s nice to have a low opening round, it takes a little bit of pressure off having to try and come home late,” Murray said.
“Last year I seemed to have one or two-under, just plot my way along and then shot low in the last round.
“The conditions were great and the course is great so the opportunities were out there if you managed to roll a few putts in, which I did.”
The 21-year-old was looking forward to returning to the West after he finished 9th in the WA Open last year, a result he credits with kick-starting his summer of golf.
RIGHT: Damien Jordan trails Murray by one shot after the opening round of the WA Open. PHOTO: Paul Kane/Getty Images. Top: Supplied/Golf WA.
“It is always nice to come back, I love Perth. I played here in a schoolboys’ championship about five or six years ago,” Murray added.
“Then I got a lot of confidence out of the WA Open last year, being able to compete at a professional event.”
Sitting one shot behind Murray is 2017 Victorian PGA Champion Damien Jordan, who was complimentary of the amateur’s low round.
“It was absolutely perfect out there this morning. I thought I was playing pretty good but to see someone one better is fantastic golf,” Jordan said.
“The putter has been really hot. So it was good to make the most of hitting good shots.”
Placed in a tie for third on six-under the card are Brett Rankin, defending champion Stephen Leaney and Ben Ferguson, who made his professional debut.
“It’s nice to have a low opening round, it takes a little bit of pressure off having to try and come home late.” – Zach Murray
Conditions were much tougher for the afternoon field with the winds synonymous with Western Australia making scoring difficult.
Another Victorian amateur, David Micheluzzi, fared the best recording four-under 68, highlighted by an eagle on the par-4 18th. The 22-year-old chipped in after almost driving the green.
Also shooting four-under 68 this afternoon was New Zealander Kieran Muir, who was celebrating his 31st birthday.
The other highlight of the day belonged to New South Welshman Andrew Campbell, who recorded a hole-in-one on the 146m par-3 6th hole using his 9-iron.