by Mike Clayton @ The Lakes
David Micheluzzi plays strong golf in The Lakes.
Famous for those who care about the history of the local game, Bruce Devlin won the Australian Open in 1960 at Lake Karrinyup. The lanky New South Welshman was one of our best players in the sixties and seventies, but his Open victory convinced him (and his mentor, Norman Von Nida) that there was a chance he could live in the United States.
Forty years later, Aaron Baddeley won the Open at Kingston Heath as a pro but a year earlier around Royal Sydney he surprised many – but not all of them – when he defeated Colin Montgomerie and Greg Norman and won as a 19-year-old amateur.
Baddeley, like Devlin, became one of the best Australians of his generation, but anyone who saw him running from the 72nd green at Royal Sydney assumed that he could have won more than he has done so far. However, that is a different story.
The flashy Victorian Amateur champion Dave Micheluzzi continued through his beautiful opening 68 in the worst weather and added a 69 that tied him to Matt Kuchar. The American, who played at Kingston Heath in Baddeley & # 39; s Open, but with a much different swing, must now be the most favorite to win.
There are no short hitters anymore and despite being a small child, Micheluzzi throws it off the t-shirt in the fashion of his contemporaries.
Golfers are sometimes described as fearless, but only those who do not feel like it, do not bother and understand the risks and the percentages. It takes time to learn both, but Micheluzzi looks like he is playing with a bit of youthful surrender. It is probably easier if you do not have to worry about paying your hotel bill at the end of the week, but his holes from the 17th to the 4th time showed a wide and wild variety of shots.
The 17th is one of the shorter par fanciers in the country, but it plays as one of the longest because the water that cuts across the channel is most restricted to the irons of the tee. Micheluzzi took a long second in the water and then blew a long fourth stroke far to the right with a frightening pitch over a steep green side back to a pin-cut on the other side of the green, close to the water. A well-hit field – call it brave or just competent – flew exactly at the right distance and then turned perfectly and the six were saved.
A fanning long iron wide to the right in a terrible lie all added up to a bogey on the 18th when another wild block in the sand dune right of the first fairway looked messy but he escaped with a four after finding both a good lie and a clear line. Only dropping two shots during the run in turn was a good result.
He then tore three successive iron shots close enough to the holes in the second, third and fourth greens to reasonably expect them to bounce, but only one – at the third – went down. He did not match from there until he missed the sixth, eighth and ninth greens within eight feet.
Maybe it will not hurt him, because sleeping with a few shots is not that easy to manage. No matter how fearless you may seem.