David Micheluzzi set his sights on the DP World Tour via the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia last season, and after achieving his goal via the Order of Merit the Victorian had to wait until this week to make his debut as a member.
That first start at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship brought a mixture of emotions, both achievement and frustration, after signing for a Sunday 68 and 8-under par total that left him well 12 shots back of winner Min Woo Lee.
“I think it helped being in Australia. It felt as normal as it could,” Micheluzzi said.
“Obviously we have a really elite field here and didn’t play particularly amazing, just got a bit unlucky.
“I hit it way better than I did last week. I just didn’t hole the putts like I did last week unfortunately. But no, it’s been great.”
The disappointment in his post-final round comments shows just how far the 27-year-old has come, with the rising star of Australian golf not happy just being part of the DP World Tour. Micheluzzi wants to win titles alongside the likes of Lee, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman.
“The first day was really good. If I holed some putts, that could have been, and I made good putts too,” he said.
“Then the next day, it felt like I shot 1-over but I shot 3-under … then yesterday was probably one of the most frustrating days on a golf course I’ve had and I didn’t talk to anybody for about 30 minutes afterwards. Then coming into today, just tried to be as patient as possible.”
“Overall I’m more disappointed than I am happy.”
Now a four-time winner on his home circuit, Micheluzzi gained highly valuable experience throughout 2023, including a major championship debut, while he has also added an important element he believes will lead to success.
Micheluzzi is seeking out an experienced caddie, a role filled by highly rated Benji Brewer, who is the husband of Aussie Ladies European Tour player Whitney Hillier.
“He’s great. He’s so experienced. Even yesterday it was cool that he just let me have my time just to chill out and not talk about the round until I wanted to talk about it. Then we had a good chat,” Micheluzzi said of his looper.
“I think we’re close enough to have the conversation that if I need a kick in the arse, he’ll kick me in the arse and I’ll not take any offence to that.
“This is not a six-tournament deal and see how you go. I’m looking at the next 5 to 10, to 15 (years), to potentially the rest of my career.”
Micheluzzi’s current stage of his career is quite fittingly a model to follow for Sunday playing partner Ben Eccles, who leads the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, chasing the same pathway as ‘Micha’.
“We were chatting about it today with just what the schedule holds for him and he could get into a couple of International Series events and he’s not going to go because the time just doesn’t work well,” Micheluzzi said.
“I would stay so fresh for just playing this Tour out and he wants to get back to Europe and he’s proven himself.”