Zach Murray's quest for the ISPS Handa Australasian Order of Merit title will resume at the AVJennings NSW Open next week at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club.
Murray is enjoying a rookie season to remember – and with the Australian summer of golf just around the corner, he will be hoping to parlay his start to 2019 into the ISPS Handa Australasian Order of Merit title.
Sitting second on the OOM courtesy of his win at the New Zealand Open, Murray is just $60,000 shy of the top spot, currently held by New Zealand's Ryan Fox.
With a cheque of around $72,000 going to the winner of the AVJennings NSW Open, victory would see the Albury/Wodonga-based star overtake the Kiwi in the race for the Order of Merit at just the right time.
"It's obviously a goal of mine to win the Australian Order of Merit after the start to the year, so a good NSW Open showing would be nice," Murray grinned.
"I'm honestly just really looking forward to getting back to Australia and playing the summer. I'm extremely excited.
"It's cliché, but whatever happens this summer is just meant to be.
"I'll be knuckling down and digging deep, don't get me wrong. It's just nice to have the opportunity to achieve a lifelong dream in potentially getting an Open start and playing in Europe," he explained.
"It's obviously a goal of mine to win the Australian Order of Merit after the start to the year, so a good NSW Open showing would be nice.” – Zach Murray
Murray has been plying his trade on the Asian and Japanese Tours courtesy of his NZ Open victory. He described the experience as sensational and an eye-opener for his own game if nothing else.
"To be able to have the opportunity to play in Asia and a little in Japan after winning the NZ Open allowed me to learn a lot about my game and me as a human in particular.
"It's been great to take the opportunity to test my game against some high-quality players and courses.
"I've learnt where I need to improve and how I function best. It's a continuous learning curve.
"I think at times (the game) can be slightly debilitating – and to learn how to come off the golf course with everything intact is something I've found to be really important."
Murray returns to Twin Creeks this year ready to continue where he left off following his NZ Open win. The tree-lined fairways, strategic bunkering and some driveable par-4s suit his eye. He is determined to do well.
"Just controlling my ball off of the tee … There's a few quirky tee shots, so just keeping it in the game and obviously pouring in a few putts each day helps the cause," he smiled.
- David Tease, Golf NSW