South Australian amateur Antonio Murdaca was punished for his mistakes in a six-over opening round in the Masters at Augusta National.
Murdaca was bogey-free – but unfortunately for the 19-year-old, he had four double bogeys.
The two-time Australian junior champion added a couple of birdies to post 78 chasing Byron Meth (74), Matias Dominguez (76) and Scott Harvey (76), tying Bradley Neil (78) but beating Corey Conners (80) and Gunn Yang (85) in the battle for low amateur.
Given the only way to win the Silver Cup is to first make the 36-hole cut, Murdaca will need to learn from his errors when he hits the course again Friday.
Playing with hero Adam Scott and big-hitting American Dustin Johnson, Murdaca didn’t looked overawed but with the juices running he pumped his approach to the first long – a known no-no.
He went long left on 10, another mistake; short on 14 and played putt-putt around the slopes of the trickiest green on the course; and then went right on 18 into the trees.
“I hit it really well today. I was just out of position a few times. It happens but I was really happy with my game, and now I’ll come out have a good time tomorrow and see how we go,” Murdaca said.
“I was hoping for a better start but just being here is amazing, it’s a thrill, so I am just embracing the experience.”
Coach Gareth Jones, who also caddies for the Asia Pacific Amateur champion, revealed a decision the pair made to take out a 52-degree wedge and place a hybrid in the bag may have been an error.
“We needed 52 all day. He really didn’t hit that (many) bad shots but around here it’s a fine line,” Jones said.
“At home we don’t have as many high flop shots so that’s one of things we will have to work on in future.
“But he was really good with his nerves. He handled his tee shots really well, iron play was reasonable but short game wise he wasn’t up to standard with the other guys.
“Tomorrow we will go hard or go home. That’s what we are out here for. To have fun and hit the shots.”
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