Murray etches his name into history books
Monday, 04 March 2019
VIS golfer Zach Murray has become the 100th New Zealand Open Golf Champion and the first player to win wire-to-wire since Sir Bob Charles in 1954.
In his first victory since turning professional, his composure was tested on 18 after a wild tee shot, and a second shot which flew well over the green, before making it down for a bogey to win by two strokes from fellow Australian Ashley Hall.
Starting the final round with a one-stroke lead over New Zealand's Josh Geary, the VIS scholarship holder had fallen back to the pack early on the back nine before an eagle and two birdies from the 13th to 15th holes propelled him towards a winning score of four-under 68 for the round and 21-under 266 for the tournament.
Speaking after his first win since turning Pro, Murray said, “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.”
“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.”
Murray is believed to be the first wire-to-wire winner in the New Zealand Open since Sir Bob Charles in 1954.
“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.”
For his win, Murray earns full status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour until the end of the 2021 season.
Murray is now second on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit which is led by Ryan Fox who finished tied 11th this week.
In other VIS golf news, VIS Aiden Didone took out the Tasmanian Open Golf Championship title.
The men's event went down to the wire as Didone required a birdie on the second playoff hole to overcome Western Australia's Hayden Hopewell, after the pair were tied at seven under par after final rounds of 67 for Didone and 69 for Hopewell.
Didone said it was an amazing feeling to wrap up the title.
"Obviously it is a big honour, I have seen a couple of the names on the trophy and it is quite humbling and I am taken away by it," he said.
"There were a few nerves, I kind of left my putt in the jaws on 18 and then hit it a little too hard on the first playoff hole, but I was able to get it close on the second."