Order of Merit champs on top on two tours - PGA of Australia

Order of Merit champs on top on two tours

The past two winners of the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit are on top after Round 1 on both the DP World Tour and Asian Tour.

A birdie-birdie finish catapulted 2023 Order of Merit winner David Micheluzzi to the top of the leaderboard at the BMW International Open in Germany while 2024 champ Kazuma Kobori is tied for the lead with American John Catlin at the International Series Morocco in Morocco.

Both Micheluzzi and Kobori won three times to claim the Order of Merit crown, opening the pathway to international tours and major championships.

Micheluzzi is using the DP World Tour card that was one of his Order of Merit rewards while Kobori has received sponsor’s invitations to play on both the DP World Tour and Asian Tour ahead of his full status kicking in at the start of the 2025 season.

After a frustrating start to his DP World Tour rookie campaign in which he made just five cuts in his first 11 starts, Micheluzzi showed signs of life with a tie for 10th at last week’s Italian Open.

He carried that form into Golfclub München Eichenried where he once again turned to his stellar short game and white-hot putter to shoot 6-under 66 and lead by one from Scot Ewen Ferguson, South African Casey Jarvis, England’s Frank Kennedy and American Patrick Reed.

“I think last week was my fifth cut made this season so I’m just trying to find my feet out here a little bit,” said the 27-year-old Victorian.

“Now everything is starting to feel a little bit more comfortable and I’ve just got to do what I do best and that’s play good golf.

“I got here from playing good golf in Australia and I’ve just got to keep doing that.”

Kobori finds himself in Morocco thanks to his good golf in Australia, too.

Battling illness earlier in the week, the 22-year-old Kiwi had just one practice round at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat but showed an instant affinity for the layout, matching Catlin’s 7-under 66 in his International Series debut.

“Honestly, I don’t know how I managed it because I didn’t even touch a club Tuesday,” said Kobori.

“You should have seen the shots I was hitting on the range this morning.

“That being said, and once I got underway, I started to hit it quite nicely.

“I don’t know it all just came together when I needed it to.”

I was a strong start in both tournaments for the Australasian players in the fields.

Order of Merit runner-up in 2023, Tom Power Horan, is just two shots behind Micheluzzi while 2019 Order of Merit winner Ryan Fox and fellow Kiwi Sam Jones are in a tie for 12th at 3-under par.

Fellow New Zealander Ben Campbell (68) trails Kobori by two shots after Round 1, Travis Smyth the best of the 19 Aussies in Morocco in a tie for 11th at 4-under par.

 Photos: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images (Micheluzzi); Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour (Kobori)

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