Melbourne’s David Micheluzzi is heading home to Australia rightfully proud of his efforts at the close of the 21st anniversary hosting of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, writes Bernie McGuire from St Andrews.
Micheluzzi battled his way through Friday’s brutal second round conditions, posting a closing round of 71 on the famed Old Course to eventually share 36th place in the $US5 million event in Scotland.
The 26-year-old Cranborne golfer travelled to the Home of Golf having qualified through his finish on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit. He had previously teed-up on the Old Course as an amateur four years running from 2016 in the famed St Andrews Links Trophy.
Micheluzzi’s final round was a mix of five birdies, including holing putts for birdie from 15 feet at both the par-3 eighth hole and the par-5 13th. He then ended his round sandwiching a bogey at the 17th among three pars between the 15th and final holes.
The effort saw Micheluzzi end the week tied with five other players at five-under par and receive a timely confidence boost ahead of the start of the PGA Tour of Australasia season in Kalgoorlie next week.
“I do feel proud of myself to be standing here now having played all four rounds,” said Micheluzzi.
“I really didn’t expect this result but then I could have done a lot better today with the putter after putting well the first three days.
“Overall, I really can’t complain and it was a pretty solid week. Also, it’s nice returning to the Home of Golf to pick up a pay cheque.”
The Scottish event was Micheluzzi’s seventh DP World Tour-counting event but a first in two years having finished 69th at the South African Open in January 2020.
His cheque for €31,132 for his Dunhill Links showing a nice reward having endured the brutal conditions that the 167 players and their amateur partners faced on Friday, driving rain and winds reaching close to 50mph testing the mettle of all in the field.
Micheluzzi was out on the Old Course where he produced a highly respectable score of one-over 73.
“It was just awesome returning to Scotland and here to the Old Course, though not sure if I want to go through Friday’s conditions again,” Micheluzzi said as a bagpiper played in the background.
“But then I’ve been here before for the Links Trophy and we had similar weather.
“This was my first time playing the Dunhill Links but I kind of knew what to expect.
“I was here at the Old Course on Friday and given the weather, I think of the three venues this was the course to be on as Kingsbarns is really exposed and also Carnoustie, and where I’ve been told it was just brutal.
“Also, we were pretty fortunate on Friday as we started at the 11th hole here at the Old Course and while we played all the inward holes into wind, it was fine and happy to shoot just one-over.
“Then to play Carnoustie on Saturday was special as we played the front nine straight into the wind and I holed a pitch shot of about 25 metres at the eighth hole that got me to four-under as it looked like it was not going to make it.
“That was like a ‘wow’ moment seeing that go in.”
Micheluzzi is entered for the season-opening CKB WA PGA Championship presented by TX Civil & Logistics at Kalgoorlie from October 13 and with both the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championships co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour is determined to play his way onto a major tour.
“The Aussie Tour starts in a couple of weeks, so it will be back home for a few weeks and then off to WA for the start of the new season,” he said.
“Then there’ll be the Aussie Open, the Aussie PGA so I’m looking forward to plenty of golf. I’ve decided not to enter overseas qualifying schools and I am just going to focus on playing at home to secure my card.
“I finished 14th last year (on the Order of Merit) and that was not really playing my best.
“With the way I am playing at the moment I feel like I can do some damage.”