Date: June 09, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Murdaca leads Aussies at St Andrews

Antonio Murdaca was the best of a cluster of Australians who played in the St Andrews Links Trophy at the home of golf.

South Australia’s Murdaca carded rounds of 70-73-76 at the Old Course and the Jubilee course to finish three-over par in 11th place. Federico Zucchetti of Italy won at two-under par.

The 2010 and 2013 Australian junior champion is continuing his good form after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne last year and finding himself in the field for the Masters at Augusta National, where he missed the cut.

Victorians Lucas Herbert and Ben Eccles also had a good week, finishing tied-14th.

Australian junior champion Ryan Ruffels missed the cut after one round, a 73, but loved the experience. At one point, he said, he putted from 60 metres from the flag.

“The Old Course is everything I expected and more,” he told John Huggan of The Scotsman. “And it is so cool to see it with the stands up for the Open. I was told how I would have to run shots on to the greens. I fancy myself a bit of a highball hitter who can stop shots pretty quickly. But here that shot has no chance, especially downwind. So I’ve been working on hitting 7-irons from maybe 100 yards, landing the ball at 70 and letting it run the rest.

“This form of golf is the best way to learn how to play because it requires the most skill. It’s multi-dimensional, not just hitting the same shot over and over. I’ve seen plenty of guys in the US with one stock shot – which is all they can play. But that is all they need and they are adapting to their environment. Here, though, you need all the shots and some you’ve never seen before.’’

The Australians travelling in Europe are now preparing for the British Amateur Championship which is to be played at Carnoustie and Panmure in Scotland next week.