They've teed it up together dozens of times before but Dave Micheluzzi may have claimed the ultimate bragging rights over fellow Victorian Kyle Michel after winning their round of 32 battle at the 2019 Amateur Championship.
Cranbourne's Micheluzzi won the match 2&1 to progress to the round of 16 at Portmarnock in Ireland, setting up a round of 16 clash with English World No. 28 Tom Sloman tonight.
Both Micheluzzi and Shepparton's Michel are based in Melbourne and have been teammates in all three of Victoria’s Interstate Series wins in the last three years.
“I was looking at my phone last night and saw that I was playing Kyle which was crazy. As two Victorian golfers, we wanted to meet each other later in the competition but these things happen,” Micheluzzi said.
“We train three or four times together in Australia and I see way too much of him in our programmes! We have a lot of fun and banter and it felt a bit weird playing a mate in this calibre of event.”
At No. 7, Micheluzzi is the highest-ranked player on the World Amateur Golf Rankings still standing this week as he hopes to improve on last year’s quarter-final loss last year in Scotland.
“It was a grind, as I think I only hit three or four fairways so I had to rely on hitting it out into the right spots and making putts inside 10 feet which I did,” Micheluzzi said.
“My short game and putting is what I do best and I’ve just got to hit more fairways and greens for now on. It’s an amazing course and a great test, there are no easy holes and you have to think on every shot.”
The last Australian to win the Amateur Championship was Bryden Macpherson in 2011. Rookie pro Dylan Perry reached the 36-hole final in 2016.
With current No.1 Viktor Hovland making his pro debut this week on the PGA Tour, a few more wins in Ireland this week will likely help Micheluzzi surpass his career-high of No.5 on the world rankings.
But there is more on the line for the 22-year-old at the Amateur Championship this week, with the eventual champion earning starts in next month’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush, as well as a place in the 2020 US Open and Masters fields.
Josh Armstrong was the only other Australian to reach the match play phase of the tournament, the New South Welshman going down to France’s David Ravetto in the round of 32.’
Fellow Blue Nathan Barbieri was brutally close to qualifying for the main match play draw, the 2019 Australian Amateur runner-up going down on the 23rd hole in a preliminary round.