Murdaca blitzes for first pro win

Antonio Murdaca
Antonio Murdaca delights in his first professional victory. Picture: DAVID BRAND

South Australian Antonio Murdaca has won the inaugural Blitz Golf at Glenelg Golf Club in a thrilling day of golf.

Billed as golf’s answer to T20 cricket, Blitz Golf is designed to provide all the excitement of a full 72-hole tournament in just 18 holes.

At the start of the day 40 PGA professionals, including Craig Parry, Peter O’Malley and Richard Green plus young guns Jordan Zunic, Lucas Herbert and Simon Hawkes were split into two pools of 20 to compete over the first nine holes.

Murdaca fired one under on the front nine to easily progress to the second round where the top 24 players advanced to compete over a further six holes.

Again one under from holes 10-15, Murdaca moved to the third round compising the top 12 players.

With just three holes to ensure his passage into the final, Murdaca played holes 16, 17 and 18 in par, bogey, birdie. Finishing the three holes tied with Matthew Millar, Murdaca advanced to the final on a countback, his birdie on 18 proving crucial.

Heading to the 18th hole in a sudden death playoff alongside Dimitrios Papadatos, Sam Earl and Dylan Stollery; Murdaca had a look at eagle to win in regulation, but watched his putt slip past the hole and he settled for birdie and a tie with Papadatos.

The duo headed to the 18th fairway, for a 75m nearest the pin shootout. With his 60-degree wedge in hand, Murdaca secured the victory when he struck his ball inside 3m, pin high left of the flag.    

Securing $15,000 for his first professional victory, Murdaca was rapt.

“I'm very excited. It's been a long time coming for me to win as a pro, so I'm just so happy,” said Murdaca, who had his dad caddying for him.

“It was a bit of a struggle for me today off the tee with my irons, but I chipped and putted really well and kept myself in it.

“I was really happy with my birdie on 18 in the third round to go into the final.

“I hit two great shots in the playoff, then Dimi made a great birdie and I missed my eagle. It was pretty cool to win a pitching comp – I can't say that I have ever been in a pitching comp for 15 grand.”

Singing the praises of the Blitz Golf format, Murdaca hopes to see it grow in years to come.

“It was awesome, I really enjoyed myself. I think it's definitely going to get bigger and better,” he said.

“The atmosphere was great with all the entertainment and everyone out here cheering us on.

“It really was a great day and I couldn’t fault anything.”

The man behind Blitz Golf, Simon Zybek was thrilled with the inaugural staging and already has plans to take the concept Australia-wide.

“I am thrilled with how everything went today. I had a vision for a shorter version of the game I am passionate about and to see that come to life was fantastic,” Zybek said.

“Already the feedback has been very positive and I have had some interest from stakeholders on the east coast of Australia. So the plan is to stage more Blitz Golf events in the near future.”