West Aussies chase leading Murray

26th Oct 2018

Zach Murray may continue to hold the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open lead, but there is a flurry of West Aussies on the Victorian’s tail leading into the weekend at Mount Lawley Golf Club.

Defending champion Stephen Leaney and newly professional Sandgroper Ben Ferguson remain the challengers to Murray, with fellow leading Amateur Dave Micheluzzi making his move on the second day.

The 22-year-old joined his state teammate on eight-under-par throughout the day, landing a second eagle for the tournament on the par-four 16th.

Leaney was steady throughout his round of one-under-par 71, while Ferguson will rue his back nine after turning with three straight birdies.

Haydn Barron remains the other Amateur in contention from a WA perspective, carding 71 to leave him in 14th position.

The WA State Captain began in fine style, landing five birdies in his first six holes to climb the leaderboard to third. Despite the promising start, the 22-year-old finished with 40 on the back nine to fall away from the leading pack.

“I feel pretty bruised at the minute after a back nine of 40,” Barron said.

“I need to take the positives out of the day, particularly playing unbelievable on the front nine. I really got the putter rolling.”

“Still not in a bad position with 36 holes to play.”

The former Mandurah Amateur Champion shared his opening two rounds alongside WA legend Kim Felton and former Web.com Tour player Oliver Goss, gaining plenty of experience around the course.

“It was a really good experience – I took a lot out of playing with those two,” he said.

“Obviously Ollie has played in the Masters and other huge events around America. Kim has won the Australian Amateur and this event three times. It was great vibes between all of us.”

“There was plenty of banter out there and definitely learned a lot over the two days.”

Barron will continue to cheer on his best mate Ferguson throughout the final two rounds, believing the 20-year-old has what it takes to claim the title.

“I am just so excited for him,” he claimed.

“He really has been practising hard, he’s been doing a lot more than he normally does. He’s been smoking me on the course.”

“It doesn’t shock me at all that he’s doing so well. Hopefully he can hold his nerve and have a really good weekend.”

With two Amateurs leading into the weekend, Barron still sees opportunity to launch up the leaderboard, citing his experience overseas as pivotal to his charge.

“Majority of the Amateurs playing in this event have played overseas and in big events,” he said.

“Those events don’t really differ from the WA Open. Everyone feels comfortable competing in a field such as this.”