Young Australian amateur golfers Anthony Murdaca and Todd Sinnott are well placed for a coveted place in the field for the US Masters.
Two exciting young Australian golfers have put themselves in the box seat for a spot in the field at the US Masters in April at the halfway mark of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship being played at Royal Melbourne.
Adelaide’s Anthony Murdaca, 19, who plays out of Grange Golf Club, added a four-under-par 68 on Friday to his opening round 69 to be seven under after 36 holes – one shot clear of first-round leader, Victorian Todd Sinnott (67, 71).
The stocky Murdaca, a self-confessed scrapper with a good short game, has twice been Australian junior champion – the first title coming as a 14-year-old in 2010.
The lanky Sinnott is a powerful hitter whose second round was highlighted by an eagle two at his 10th hole – a 392m par-four where he hit three iron off the tee and then holed a wedge from 141 metres.
He has to contain himself off the tee and has only taken the driver from his bag three times in two days.
“I was sloppy early,” Sinnott said after his round. “I saved the round with the eagle and then played nicely after that.”
Murdaca and Sinnott are great mates and are drawn to play together in the third round on Saturday.
“It should be fun. Anthony plays very aggressively,” Sinnott said.
Murdaca admitted he often relied on his short game to get him out of trouble but said he was really confident going into the weekend.
He admitted he was lucky to be in the elite 116-man field of amateurs all trying to win a place at Augusta.
As the host nation, Australia get 10 spots in the field – four above the maximum allowed. Murdaca qualified ninth of the Australians.
He had five birdies and a bogey in his 69 on Friday.
“I’m pretty confident. I’m quite happy with my game. All I’m looking to do is hit great shots, one after the other. So I am not going to try to think too far ahead at the weekend.”
Sinnott’s approach will be similar.
“I’ll just hit each shot as it comes and stay in the moment,” he said.
Murdaca’s first memory of Augusta was watching Tiger Woods play on TV in 2005 and holing a bunker shot on the 16th hole on his way to victory.
He said it would be a dream come true to play the Masters.
“I’ve always wanted to play the Masters as an amateur.”
The best-placed of the other Australians are Ryan Ruffels, 16, son of former professional tennis player Ray Ruffels, at two under and Queenslander Cory Crawford at one under.