Amateurs Shine at the Australian Open
Micheluzzi, Nakajima, Hovland
Micheluzzi, Nakajima, Hovland

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (November 18, 2018) - Further demonstrating the comfort that today's top amateurs have in competing in top professional events, four amateurs recorded top-20 finishes in the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club, the best showing by an amateur contingent since 1999 when Aaron Baddeley won as an amateur.

David Micheluzzi of Australia and Keita Nakajima of Japan shared low amateur honors, each finishing tied for fifth at 8 under par. Nakajima played in the final group on Sunday with champion Abraham Ancer of Mexico, while Micheluzzi held the lead on Friday before falling back on the weekend.

For Micheluzzi, it was a week of inspiration in his first Australian Open, getting to compete alongside some of the game's top professionals. "I thought ‘these guys have won on the PGA Tour. I’m actually up there with them. It’s awesome’," said Micheluzzi to Martin Blake of The Lakes.

It has been a breakthrough year for Micheluzzi, having won the Australian Master of the Amateurs championship early in the year and backing it up with a runner-up finish in the Australian Amateur. He was also a runner-up in the WA Open and a quarterfinalist in the British Amateur.

Nakajima, too, has racked up the accomplishments in 2018, defeating Micheluzzi to win the Australian Amateur and also winning the Asian Games. He nearly qualified for the 2019 Masters, falling one spot short in a runner-up finish in the Asia-Pacific Amateur.

Viktor Hovland, the current #1 in the Golfweek/ World Amateur Ranking, also had a strong showing at The Lakes. The U.S. Amateur champion and member of the reigning national champion Oklahoma State Cowboy golf team, closed with a 68 for a 13th place finish at 5 under par.

Takumi Kanaya of Japan, who held off Nakajima to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur and punch his ticket to Augusta, finished in a tie for 17th at 4 under.

Daniel Hillier of New Zealand was the only other amateur to make the cut, shooting a 5-over 293 for a T60 finish.

Zach Bauchou, Hovland's OkSt teammate and the only American amateur in the field, missed the halfway cut by two shots.

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ABOUT THE Australian Open

The Australian Open is Golf Australia's National Open Men's Championship, and is sanctioned by the Australian PGA Tour and forms part of the ONEASIA series of events. Many of Australia's top amateurs qualify for the event.

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