Golf Australia

Classy Murray bows out

Zach Murray
Zach Murray plays at Pebble Beach. Picture: USGA

The title “would have been nice”, but Zach Murray is already focusing on the myriad positives from his bold run at the US Amateur Championship in California.

Murray’s run came to an end today, going down 2&1 to boom American Cole Hammer after an epic match at Pebble Beach in the round of 16.

The Wodonga ace’s putter had been a key factor in his two previous match play victories, but it went cold at the wrong times against the talented young Texan.  

Each player had a couple of early chances, but neither struck a blow until Hammer’s rifled approach to the long sixth set up an eagle.

An errant approach to the eight cost another hole, but when Murray, the last Australian remaining in the field, dug deep after the turn he was soon able to draw back square with a pair of birdies.

“I finally made a couple of putts on 10 and 11 and thought my game was feeling pretty good, as it has all week,” Murray said.

“My approach to the 12th found the bunker and I made a bogey there, but after that, it just seemed that every putt I hit just found some way to stay out.”

The pair exchanged hole victories on the 13th and 14th, before the match took what turned out to be a critical turn in the next 15 minutes.

Murray found the front edge of the par-four 15th green in two, but left his first putt a tick over 2m away and needed it to halve the hole.

“I missed that to lose and went 2-down again, so knew I had to make a putt coming in the way he was playing,” Murray said.

“Then I had about 16 feet on the 16th for birdie and it was downhill from right to left and maybe the quickest putt on the course.

“It skimmed the right edge at toppling speed and somehow just didn’t go in.

Zach Murray
Zach Murray shakes hands with the victorious Cole Hammer on the 17th green. Picture: USGA

“I then hit a good shot into the (par-three) 17th, but it was pretty spiked up around the hole and the putt just didn’t take the break I thought it would.

“Cole played pretty well, so full credit to him. But I holed those putts in my last couple of matches to get lead or keep it at crucial moments, then every time I hit one today, they just didn’t go.

“That’s golf. You have to putt well when you’re under the pump and it just wasn’t my day today.”

Earlier in the day, Murray had taken control of his round of 32 match with Californian Clay Feagler with back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes.

Murray was two under par and 3-up at the turn, then pushed 4-up at the short 12th. It wasn’t until Feagler birdied the 15th that the American won his first hole and, despite a bogey, Murray was able to close out the match 3&2 on the 16th.

“I’m a bit flat right now, but it has ben a good week at such a big tournament,” Murray said.

“I just feel pretty disappointed at the moment because I felt confident I could go all the way.

“But when it all blows over I think there’s plenty I’ll be able to take away.

“I think the best lesson I’ve learnt is that I need to trust myself a lot more and believe in myself, because my game is starting to match up at this level.

“It’s a super fine line with mentality in sport, because you have to believe in yourself but you can never get too cocky without the right foundation if you’re kidding yourself.

“But my belief at the moment is true and I know my game can match it, it’s just time and practice.”

Murray, as several of his Australian mates in California this week, will next turn his attention to the Asia-Pacific Amateur in Singapore in early October.

After that, the Victorian Interstate Series skipper is unsure of his plans in the amateur game.

“I haven’t set in stone what I want to do. I haven’t looked past the Asia-Pacific Am and hopefully I might get a start in a couple of pro events this summer in Australia.

“I feel like I can match it at this elite amateur level, but obviously it goes up a fair few notches after this.

“We’ll see… there’s no rush on any decision.”



Posted by Errol Davis at
17/08/2018 05:11 PM
Bravo my friend... There are many more chapters to your book Zach, just keep writing notes. 🔑 Eck

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