Micheluzzi, who has made his last seven cuts in professional events including when runner-up at the West Australian Open and 5th at the Australian Open, is looking to become just the third Australian to win the prestigious title following victories by Micheluzzi’s fellow Victorians, Dough Bachli in 1954 and Bryden MacPherson in 2011.
Micheluzzi finished 29th in the stroke-play but had done enough to advance to the match-play where in round one he was faced with the task of battling his fellow Australian Kyle Michel in the opening round.
He survived a tough battle to defeat Michel 2 up before advancing to the later rounds.
Micheluzzi was forced to fight back from a two-hole deficit against Frances, reeling off wins at the 14th, 15th and 16th holes to win at the 17th hole.
“It was a nice comeback and I’m over the moon," said Micheluzzi. "I’ve been down in every match now but it’s not over until it’s over. Fortunately for me, Alexander made a few bogeys in row towards the end and I capitalised by making pars on those tough holes from 14 to 16.
“He was hitting it so good early on and I didn’t know how to compete with him but I showed real tenacity. Early in the week, I wasn’t hitting it great but I’m just starting to feel like I’ve got it now. I stayed really patient and it all clicked. I just want to get past a quarter-final tomorrow and try and push to the final.”
Micheluzzi's opponent in the quarter-finals, 19 year old Cameron Sisk, attends Arizona State College in the US and is a player good enough to have recorded a round of 59 at the age of 18 on a par 71 course which bettered the previous course record by six shots so he is clearly a youngster of considerable talent.
Michel was the only other Australian to advance to the 64 who made it into the match-play phase but despite finishing ahead of Micheluzzi in the qualifying stroke play rounds he had the onerous task of facing his more credentialed opponent on their opening round encounter.
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