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Australian Zach Murray has claimed his first win since turning professional with victory in the 100th New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
The 21-year-old from Wodonga in country Victoria almost managed to maintain the relaxed facade on show through three previous rounds at The Hills and Millbrook.
His composure was tested on 18 after a wild tee shot, and a second shot which flew well over the green, before making it down for bogey to win by two strokes from compatriot Ashley Hall and New Zealand’s Josh Geary.
Murray, who previously won the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia’s WA Open as an amateur, claimed the Brodie Breeze Cup and takes home $AUS211,724 for the win, along with a further $AUS11,292 as part of the winning pro-am team.
Starting the final round with a one-stroke lead over Geary, Murray had fallen back to the pack early on the back nine before an eagle and two birdies from the 13th to 15th holes propelled him towards a winning score of four-under 68 for the round and 21-under 266 for the tournament.
Murray is believed to be the first wire-to-wire winner in the New Zealand Open since Sir Bob Charles in 1954.
“Starting my career like this is so huge and to win the 100th New Zealand Open – I don’t really think words can describe that,” said Murray.
“I’ve etched my name in history a little bit, which is really good and I’ll come back and support this tournament as long as I’m a professional. I’m looking forward to playing this tournament for the rest of my life.
“I was speaking to (Sir Bob) just before and I’d never met him before, he’s an amazing man and I reckon if I could have a 10th of the career that he had I’ll die a happy man.”
For his win, Zach Murray earns full status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour until the end of the 2021 season.
Murray is now second on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit which is led by Ryan Fox who finished tied 11th this week.