Golf Victoria has been dealt a huge blow before next week’s Interstate Teams Championship with Zach Murray forced out with a badly dislocated finger.
Murray, 18, had surgery to repair his right index finger after an accident while playing school football on Wednesday afternoon.
Golf Victoria announced Andrew Schonewille this morning as its replacement player.
Murray, the world’s No.147 ranked amateur, was representing Catholic College Wodonga and playing in the ruck when a ball landed on his finger.
It was immediately evident that his finger had been dislocated and that the Golf Australia national squad member would take no further part in the game.
But it wasn’t until two surgeons couldn’t reposition his finger by normal methods that an operation at Albury Base Hospital became the only course of action.
Under a general anaesthetic, Murray’s finger was cut open, the blockages to joint movement cleared and his finger returned to its normal position before he was discharged and spent the night at home.
The injury represents horrendous timing for Murray, who had been desperate to represent his state again after being part of last year’s winning team at Canberra’s Federal Golf Club.
After winning the Australian Master of the Amateurs in January, Murray has largely dedicated himself to his Year 12 studies, but those around him say he’d found arguably the best form of his life in recent weeks.
He followed a 65 two weeks ago at his Melbourne club Commonwealth with a bogey-free 64 last weekend in Saturday club competition, then was five under in a 1-down loss to state team captain Ben Eccles, representing Victoria GC, on Sunday in a classic pennant encounter.
There’s no timeline for Murray’s recovery yet, with the level of damage to the surrounding tendons one of the key factors in his rehabilitation.
He will definitely miss the rest of Commonwealth’s pennant campaign and is in doubt for his upcoming planned starts in the St Andrews Links Trophy (June 5-7) and The Amateur Championship at nearby Carnoustie and Panmure (June 15-20).
Golf Victoria high performance manager Ashley Marshall was disappointed by Murray’s absence, but said his selection panel was happy with Schonewille, who lead the Victorian Open after 36 holes in February, as his replacement.
“Clearly we’d like Zach to be fit and playing, but it is what it is and we can’t do much about it now,” Marshall said this morning.
“ `Schonaz’ has been in great form in the past 12-18 months, so we’re lucky in Victoria to have that depth and we’re confident he’ll come in and do that job for us.”
Murray had been in the mix to start as Victoria’s No.3 or No.4 player with world top-20 amateurs Ryan Ruffels and Lucas Herbert likely to be in the top two slots.
The men’s Interstate competition will be played at Huntingdale from Monday, with the women’s event at nearby Royal Melbourne on the East Course.