Golf Australia

CLAYTON: Micheluzzi walks in Devlin's footsteps

David Micheluzzi
David Micheluzzi is playing solid golf at The Lakes.

Famously 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 went on to be one of our best players in the 1960s and 1970s but his Open win convinced him (and his mentor, Norman Von Nida) there was a chance he could make a living in the United States.

Forty years later at Kingston Heath Aaron Baddeley won the Open as a pro but a year earlier around Royal Sydney he surprised many –but certainly not all – when he beat Colin Montgomerie and Greg Norman and won as a 19-year-old amateur.

Baddeley, like Devlin, went on to be one of the best Australians of his generation but all those who watched him walk off the 72nd green at Royal Sydney assumed he might have won more than he has to this point. That though is another story.

The flashy Victorian Amateur champion Dave Micheluzzi carried on from his fine opening 68 in the worst of weather, adding a 69 which tied him with Matt Kuchar. The American, who played in Baddeley’s Open at Kingston Heath but with a much different swing, must now be the one most favoured to win.

There are no short hitters any more and despite being a small kid Micheluzzi smashes it off the tee in the fashion of his contemporaries.

Golfers are sometimes described as fearless but only those with no sense don’t play the odds and understand the risks and the percentages. It takes time to learn both but Micheluzzi looks like he plays with some youthful abandon. Likely it’s easier when you don’t have to worry about paying your hotel bill at the end of the week but his run of holes from the 17th to the fourth showed off a wide and wild variety of shots.

The 17th is one of the shorter par fives in the country but it plays as one of the longest because the water cutting across the fairway restricts most to irons from the tee. Micheluzzi pulled a long second into the water and then blew a long fourth shot far to the right leaving a fearsome pitch over a steep greenside back to a pin cut on the opposite side of the green, close to the water. A properly hit pitch – call it brave or simply competent - flew exactly the right distance then spun perfectly and the six was saved.

A flared long iron wide to the right into a horrible lie all added up to a bogey at the 18th then another wild block into 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 over the run around the turn was a good result.

He then ripped three consecutive iron shots close enough to the holes at the second, third, and fourth greens to reasonably expect to birdie them, but only one -- at the third -- went down. He parred in from there but not before missing from inside eight feet at the sixth, eighth and ninth greens.

Perhaps it won’t do him any harm as sleeping on a lead of a few shots isn’t such an easy thing to manage. No matter how fearless you might appear.


Posted by Peter at
31/01/2019 07:13 AM
I was a Marshall and walked inside the ropes at the Australian Open in 2018. I walked many holes with David Micheluzzi. He certainly hit the ball a great distance and fearlessly took on the 14th athe Lakes each day and had 2/3 eagles. His play was exceptional and I look forward to following his progress over the next few years. I was able to speak to his parents who followed his rounds. I am sure he will do well in the great game.
Posted by Len Walker at
17/11/2018 01:45 PM
If that young man had tapped that ball in when it was obviously still moving would it have been a 2 shot penalty , does that penalty he got cover all putts

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