Date: March 19, 2015
Author: M Hayes and C Puccini

Murdaca’s perfect Masters prep

If Antonio Murdaca could have scripted a Masters build-up, this would have been it.

Fresh from a reconnaissance trip to Augusta National, the Adelaide 19-year-old returned home to dominate the South Australian Amateur Classic (partnered by the W Group) for a seven-stroke victory today.

Murdaca, less than two weeks before flying back to Georgia for his major championship debut, closed with a two-under-par 70 to close at 11 under at Royal Adelaide.

So dominant was his win that Sydney’s Brayden Petersen (-4) and Queenslander Douglas Klein (-1) were the only other golfers in red figures after four rounds.

Murdaca, a Golf Australia national squad member, was thrilled that his game was where it needs to be before his date with his Masters destiny.

“I’m pretty confident, feeling really good about my game (and I’m) really happy how I played today,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to win the SA Classic so it’s a good lead-up for me and it has given me great confidence for when I head off to the Masters on April 2.”

The result was not unlike the triumph that sealed Murdaca’s Masters’ berth – the runaway

Seven-stroke Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship win at Royal Melbourne in October when he became the first Aussie to win that prestigious crown.

But The Grange member didn’t have things all his own way during the final round on his way to winning his first national ranking event.

Murdaca began with a four-shot buffer, but Petersen, of Monash Golf Club, had a makeable chance to close to within two when he missed a birdie chance on the ninth hole.

From there, the stocky right-hander just ploughed clear.

“It was a bit of a lucky break (on the ninth) …it was sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card, only lost one shot, I kept it steady and made one birdie coming down 15 then back on 17,” he said.

“I wasn’t thinking about the lead too much … just wanted to play some golf (and) pretty much made par on the back nine with two birdies.”

In fact, Murdaca made very few costly errors all week. His 18 birdies were blemished by just seven bogeys on the immaculate but penal course.

“It feels pretty good. I know this course quite well, I have played a couple of Junior Masters around here.”

Murdaca, a dual Australian junior champion, is due to meet with Greg Norman in Sydney next week and is hopeful of playing a practice round with 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott when he returns to Augusta National.