18 May 2023 | Professional golf |
The PGA: Micheluzzi takes advice from Lee at Oak Hill
by Tony Webeck
Min Woo Lee has urged Victorian David Micheluzzi to treat his major championship debut as he did the three wins at home that earned him a start at this week’s US PGA Championship in New York. A week after making the cut in his PGA TOUR debut at the AT&T Byron Nelson won be fellow Australian Jason Day, Micheluzzi is preparing to take another step up at the revered Oak Hill Country Club. One of seven Aussies in the field, Micheluzzi has been drawn to play with American JJ Spaun and Chris Sanger, the Head PGA Professional at Woodstock Golf Club in New York. The 26-year-old will tee off at 4.15am Friday morning AEST but when he surveys the enormous galleries, he is unlikely to see many familiar faces. And that’s exactly how he wanted it. The ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner will have family and friends on hand when he plays The Open Championship in July – another reward for his stellar season – but is happy to go about business as usual in his first experience in such elite company. Micheluzzi has sought advice from his countrymen in Texas last week and in practice rounds the first two days, Lee sharing his thoughts during a practice round at TPC Craig Ranch on how he felt his former Interstate Teams adversary should approach his first major. “He said majors are just crazy if you have a lot of people around,” said Micheluzzi, who was only informed of his PGA Championship exemption a week ago. “Obviously I want it to be special, I want to have a lot of family members and all that around, but at the end of the day, it’s a golf tournament, and I feel like I do well when there’s not many people around off course and all that. “I just want to go in, just me and my caddie, my manager, and just go straight ahead and just play like it’s another tournament. Like The National PGA. Just go out and cruise. “I just want to keep it as low key as possible and just focus on the golf, and that’s it.” The first player to win three tournaments in a PGA Tour of Australasia season since Robert Allenby’s Triple Crown in 2005, the upper echelon of world golf has suddenly opened up for Micheluzzi. With a 2024 DP World Tour card in his back pocket, the 26-year-old has received invitations to play the Byron Nelson, the Memorial, the US PGA and The Open, with the possibility of more PGA TOUR starts on the way. He paid credit to manager Ben Harrison, Senior Vice President, Global Golf Clients at SPORTFIVE, and the pathway created by the PGA of Australia that he is now treading with such success. “It’s really cool to see what the PGA of Australia has done with the pathways now,” said Micheluzzi, who won the WA PGA, TPS Sydney and NSW Open. “Instead of having the one (DP World Tour) card, it’s the three cards. It’s a category on the Tour. “Just having that success in Australia with having so many events consecutively, it’s just been great. “I think having the success, (Ben) can now say, look, ‘He’s done this over here. Let’s get him some starts.’ “All credit to the guys and PGA of Australia and DP and PGA TOUR for being able to give the PGA of Australia these pathways.” Even before teeing it up in his PGA TOUR debut last week Micheluzzi was scouting the site of his first major. His early appraisal was succinct. “Oak Hill is iconic. It’s such a great golf course,” he added.
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