Up-and-coming Australian Zach Murray and American Smylie Kaufman, whose ultra-promising career stalled last season due to injuries, have been handed invitations to this week’s SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club.
The 21-year-old Murray has experienced a whirlwind few months highlighted by winning the Western Australian Open as an amateur, turning professional at the Emirates Australian Open and gaining his Asian Tour card with a fourth place finish at Qualifying School in late December.
Murray, a standout in the amateur ranks, will be making an early return to Sentosa Golf Club after competing in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship where he was one of the favourites.
Playing on the New Tanjong Course last October, Murray eventually finished 21st but soon put that disappointment behind him with victory in the professional WA Open a few weeks later.
“I haven’t won in a while and to win a professional event and ultimately set up the end of the year, knowing I can get into a few more events and it definitely makes things a lot easier,” he said after the win.
Murray turned pro at the Australian Open, where he missed the cut, and finished tied 40th at the Australian PGA Championship.
Rounds of 68-64-67-66-69 for a 21-under total saw him gain his Asian Tour card at Lakeview Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, in late December.
Meanwhile, Kaufman will attempt to kickstart his career after wrist and elbow issues curtailed his 2018 season on the PGA Tour.
Kaufman made quick strides in the game after turning professional in 2014 with a win in the United Leasing Championship on the Web.com Tour in March, 2015 followed by a victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open that October.
He snatched victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a sizzling 10-under 61 to come from seven shots back and win by a stroke from a group of six players.
The 27-year-old also made headlines at the 2016 Masters where he went into the final round a stroke behind leader Jordan Spieth after having posted the best third round score, a three-under 69.
Sadly, he fell out of contention with nine bogeys and a double bogey on his way to an 81 and a tied 29th finish.
Kaufman has been working hard on his rehabilitation and his game and believes that his “best golf is in front of me.”