Newly minted Professional Zach Murray has fired a 5-under 65 to take out his home pro-am in Albury.

This was Murray’s first appearance on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series since turning Professional only three weeks ago and only his third start as a Professional.

Morning scores were very solid with South Australian Simon Pope setting the pace with a 2-under 68. However it was Victoria Golf Club Teaching Professional Nick Drane who provided the highlight of the round, a 5-iron from 183 metres that found the bottom of the cup for his second ever hole-in-one.

“That’s my second ever hole-in-one and the first one in a pro-am, so I’m completely stoked” said Drane.

As the temperature hotted up so did the scores.  Defending Champion Andrew Martin set about defending his title and with 3 birdies in a row around the turn he took the lead at 3-under.  He managed only one further birdie and finished his round on 4-under.

Martin was soon joined by VIC/TAS/SA Order of Merit leader Michael Choi.  Choi’s round fluctuated throughout, trading six birdies with two bogeys until he reached the par 5 11th hole, his last.  He could only manage a par leaving him on 4-under.

Shane Butler’s hot form from the Eastwood Pro-Am continued and he was the next to join Martin and Choi at 4-under.  His round began slowly with a bogey on the 7th and then a double bogey on the 9th before he managed four birdies and an eagle to get to 3-under.  Butler peeled off another birdie on the 1st (his second last hole) to join the group at 4-under.

Taylor Cooper was the fourth player to sign for a 4-under 66 after a round that featured two opening birdies to move to 2-under.  Cooper’s round like many others was a roller coast ride with a total of seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey leaving him stranded one behind Murray.

Murray who grew up playing at Commercial Club felt right at home in his first Ladbrokes Pro-Am.

“I felt really comfortable out there, I know all the lines and it was good to come out and support the event” said Murray

Murray praised the condition of the course that like many in Country Victoria has been suffering under the drought.

“I thought the course played really well and the greens just rolled purse all day” added Murray.

Murray will return to work at Kingston Heath later this week to resume bar duties as he prepares for Asian Tour School at the end of the month.  However he has full intentions of teeing it up across Australia next year on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.

“I’ll be playing the Vic Open, I just love that event and then in Perth for the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth the next week” said Murray.

The Victorian swing of the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series moves to the Goulbourn Valley on Thursday and Friday for the annual Greater Shepparton Masters before wrapping at RACV Healesville over the weekend.