Date: September 17, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Murdaca looks for Asia-Pacific repeat

Australia's six top-ranked amateurs, including defending champion Antonio Murdaca, are gearing up for the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

The picturesque Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong will play host to Asia’s premier amateur golf event from October 1-4, with the winner gaining entry to next year’s Masters and the top two a start in The Open Qualifying Series.

South Australian Murdaca streeted the field last year at Royal Melbourne, winning by seven strokes to become the title’s first Australian winner.

His form has been solid this season, recording a win at the South Australia Amateur Classic and an finishing 11th at the St Andrews Links Trophy.

The 20-year-old missed the cut at the Masters, but nonetheless found the experience a valuable one.

“I remember playing so well at the AAC last year and it was a dream come true to be at the Masters amongst all the greats,” Murdaca said.

“I learned a lot from the experience and it has really helped me with my game since. I am looking forward to playing in Hong Kong in a few weeks and hope I can repeat my form from last year.”

Ryan Ruffels is the current Australian No.1 and ranked No.8 in the world. He finished three places behind Murdaca at the AAC last year.

“Hong Kong will be very exciting and I am looking forward to it. The field is once again very strong but I feel that my game is at a good place and practice has been going well, so I think I have a great chance to do well next month,” Ruffels said.

“Antonio won for Australia last year, and I would love to follow his footsteps and bring the trophy back to Australia again.”

Lucas Herbert has been a consistent performer at the AAC, finishing eighth and fourth in 2014 and 2013, respectively.  The Victorian 19-year-old was the leading amateur at both the Australian Open and Australian Masters last season and recorded top-three finishes in three other tournaments.

Australian Amateur champion Cameron Davis, Jarryd Felton and Travis Smyth will round off a strong Australian contingent at the 2015 AAC.

Since its inception in 2009, the AAC has produced an impressive list of winners, including dual champion Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, who has recorded top-20 finishes across all four majors since turning professional in 2013.

Continuing under its banner of “Creating Future Heroes”, the AAC will feature 120 players from the APGC’s 39 member associations and will be played over 72 holes of strokeplay, with a cut to the leading 60 players plus ties after 36 holes.