It wasn’t that long ago that Anthony Murdaca was just learning the game of golf at The Patawalonga in Adelaide, now he is on his way to Augusta National.
Antonio Murdaca today became the first Australian to win the prestigious Asia Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne, comprehensively winning by seven shots.
The 19-year-old from Adelaide was never really threatened during the final round, the seven shot victory was the biggest winning margin in the history of the event.
Along with the prestigious trophy comes with it a spot qualifying series for the 2015 Open Championship at St.Andrews and a spot in the field at the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta in April.
“It’s special,” said Murdaca. “It’s a dream that’s come true for me now, and I always wanted to play in the Masters and it’s so exciting now knowing I’ve got a spot in there, and also in the Qualifying Series for The Open at St Andrews.”
Murdaca hails from Adelaide and began playing golf at Adelaide Shores (the old Patawalonga golf course) as a member of Westward Ho Golf Club before becoming a member of The Grange Golf Club.
Starting the final round eight shots ahead, the two-time Australian junior champion set two alarms to make sure he did not miss the bus to the course, and then woke before the first of them anyway.
Australians dominated the leaderboard, with long-hitting Todd Sinnott third at 5-under and Ryan Ruffels racing home with a final-round 68 to finish fourth at 3-under. China’s Zecheng Dou and Tianlang Guan tied fifth with Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Tsung Pan at 2-under.
Japan’s Mikumu Horikawa had a brilliant weekend with scores of 67-69, and his second place also puts him into The Open Qualifying Series this year.
There were many members from Augusta National present at Royal Melbourne to watch the prestigious tournament.
Among the green jackets was Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Mr Billy Payne, who had joined other Augusta members on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday night for a commemorative photograph with the players, said the club intended bringing the event back to Royal Melbourne in the near future.
Mr Payne said Murdaca would be adopted by the membership and the fans at Augusta National when he steps out in the field next year, just as previous AAC winners were.
“It makes us feel wonderful,” said Mr Payne. “Quite honestly, I can tell you that when one of these young men come to Augusta and play the Masters every year, the membership and I think the fans immediately have a favourite. I think we are so proud of them, they’re like our children.”