Date: November 18, 2018
Author: Martin Blake @ The Lakes

THE AMS: Micheluzzi, Nakajima share low amateur

David Micheluzzi was walking around The Lakes on Saturday and he noticed Matt Kuchar, a man who has won $US45 million on the US PGA Tour, plying his trade. He’d already practised alongside the likes of Keegan Bradley and Cameron Smith this week.

"I thought ‘these guys have won on the PGA Tour. I’m actually up there with them. It’s awesome’.’’

But Micheluzzi was undaunted by his first appearance in an #AusOpenGolf.

With a fine 69 to close today, he vaulted up to a tie for fifth in the national championship, and joined Japan’s Keita Nakajima as the silver medallist for leading amateur in the field. It is heady territory for Micheluzzi, the Victorian Institute of Sport prodigy who at 22, clearly has an outstanding professional career ahead of him.

“To do it here is awesome,’’ he said after barely missing a birdie putt to finish. “This is my first Aussie Open. To be up there in the top 10 and also low ‘am’ is unreal.’’

Micheluzzi was five shots ahead momentarily on Friday and in contention through the third round before Abraham Ancer of Mexico pulled away. Today, he knew that he was playing for other honours, but he had a great day regardless, once pulling out his “fishing rod’’ celebration. “I try to entertain anyone,’’ he said. “Everyone knows I’m a larrikin. I love having a laugh. I hope everyone enjoyed it.’’

The man from Hampton Park in the southern outskirts of Melbourne who grew up playing at Cranbourne Golf Club was more than happy. “Today I played awesome. Got off to a slow start, then bounced back with two birdies in a row, got me going a little bit. I made birdie at the eighth at well. I thought that if I could keep giving myself chances on the back nine and I did. On 15 I missed the green and unfortunately made bogey and I three-putted from 100 feet on 16. But I made a good birdie on 17 and (the putt on) 18 was like 10 feet, in the whole way until it missed. I’m so disappointed but overall,  I’m so stoked with the week.’’

His perspective was interesting. “This is my sixth event in seven weeks. I’m beaten up and I’ve learned so much about myself, how to handle myself, especially up near the lead. To do it here in the second round, I’m over the moon. I didn’t win this week but if I’m low am I’m so happy.’’