Date: August 15, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Zunic win has him thinking big

Jordan Zunic is nothing if not switched on.

The newly crowned Northern Territory PGA champion has already played one World Golf Championship event in Doral this year and is preparing for a second at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai courtesy of his second place on last year’s ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia order of merit.

And with his wire-to-wire win in the inaugural NT event at Palmerston on Sunday, Zunic already knows the doors to Europe have creaked open just a little further.

The PGA’s closer ties with the European Tour have made a great new pathway available to our domestic touring pros – and the 24-year-old is keen to take those steps.

And coming on the back of his New Zealand Open last year in his rookie season on tour, the emerging Wollongong star knows these are the opportunities from which a career can be forged.

“I was lucky enough to win early in my (pro) career, especially when I didn’t have a real card or anything. And I think you can then maybe fall into the trap of having high expectations and expecting things,” the level-headed Zunic said.

“You’d love to win again, but it’s tough. So to do this is so cool and I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to play around Australia, but also now to hopefully take advantage of our closer links with Europe and see where that can take me.”

Zunic looked to have the NTPGA in his keeping after opening rounds of 64 and 67 in the first staging of the event south of Darwin.

But when he made bogeys early on the back nine of a tense final round, the field was suddenly within reach.

“I had a few little hiccups on 11 and 12 which threw a spanner in the works, but I managed to keep it together,” he said.

“But I hit some nice shots on 14 and 15 to make birdies and that really brought the momentum back into my court. From there I felt pretty comfortable coming in.

“To win again is a great feeling and it really makes all the hard work I do back home pay off.”

Zunic won by two at 13 under from Adelaide’s Max McCardle with Tim Hart (-10) third, veteran Stephen Leaney and the emerging Deyen Lawson tied for fourth at eight under.

“It just allows you to start thinking a little bigger,” Zunic said.

“My goal is to do enough on the PGA Tour to get a couple of starts on the European Tour next year.

“Every time I achieve something like this, I want to do more. I want to win a European Tour event and just keep working towards my life goal of winning a major.

“So this is an important step.”