Jordan back on top after horror crash

GOLF

Jordan Zunic will tell you his right ear is now slightly smaller than his left. You might notice it, but only if you look really hard - from just a metre away.

"The plastic surgeon did a pretty good job, I think," Zunic said. "I thought I wasn't going to have an ear left the way they were talking to me before I went into surgery."

The surgery followed a horrific car crash last August when the Illawarra golfer was in the United States.

A car he was travelling in with fellow amateurs Viraat Badhwar and Ricky Kato was T-boned at an intersection in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The vehicle slid out of control and careered into a pole. Zunic's head bore the brunt of the impact.

Zunic lost 40 per cent of his blood, cut his minor temporal artery and fractured an elbow. And he still thinks he's lucky.

"One hundred metres that way and 100 metres the other way there was nothing," Zunic said, recalling the scene of the accident.

"The car would have just spun out and I would have had a bit of whiplash, [but] I was conscious through the whole accident and I could see the blood coming out of the side of my head.

"I had two bags of blood transfused back into me. The doctors said I was lucky I got there as quick as I did, otherwise the heart would have been struggling to keep going.

"I'm unlucky but lucky [at the same time]. The host family where we were staying had a nice BMW that had side airbags in the back seat where I was sitting which deployed between me and the pole. That probably saved my life I think."

Zunic was bedridden for "a few months" and didn't pick up a club or even try any golf-related exercise.

Fast forward a couple of months and the 22-year-old is now the No 1-ranked amateur golfer in Australia after a top-five finish in last weekend's Lake Macquarie International.

"It's a great feeling and [also] happening so soon after my accident," Zunic said. "I have worked extremely hard to get back anywhere near where I was [before the accident].

"I was struggling for a while there so it's nice to get something out of it. I was planning to turn [professional] at the end of last year before I had the accident, but that setback might be for the better. You never know."

What we do know is that the sporting gene hasn't been lost on younger brother Kyle, a 14-year-old who prefers to drive to the basket rather than down the fairway.

He's been selected to tour New Zealand with an Australian Country side in April. You don't need to look far to find his inspiration.

"It's been really awesome to see him perform after what he's been through," Kyle said.

"He's got a tough mind to get through that. I'm very proud of him."

Jordan will continue to step up the pace with a tilt at the NSW Amateur Championships at Castle Hill Country Club and Pennant Hills Golf Club over the next few days.

He hopes to return to the UK and the US this year for a shot at some of the bigger amateur tournaments. Maybe then his talent will be heard loud and clear.

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