PORT Kembla’s Jordan Zunic will chase his American dream, but first the 24-year-old must focus on beating some of the world’s best at the Australian PGA, starting on Thursday.
They are career-shaping rounds ahead, three years after surviving a horrible car crash before he could play in the prestigious US Amateur.
Zunic’s second chance comes when he jets out to Orlando, Florida on Monday morning.
He hopes it will be just hours after leaving the Royal Pines course on the Gold Coast with a top 10 finish, perhaps even better.
“It’s a chance to set me up for next year in the US,” he told the Mercury.
“I’ll still have the chance to play in Europe next year if it doesn’t happen for me, but it’s a dream to play on the USPGA Tour and getting my (second-tier) web.com card would be a big step for me.”
After making a full recovery, Zunic made his mark as professional by winning the NZ Open last year, before claiming the Northern Territory PGA in August.
More recently, Zunic has rubbed shoulders with some of the sport’s greats and international celebrities at the Alfred Dunhill Championships in Scotland, where he played with French Connection UK fashion label founder Stephen Marks.
On Wednesday, he played in the Australian PGA tournament pro-am, paired with five-time Olympian and 2000 Sydney gold medallist Natalie Cook.
“It was great to learn more about Natalie’s career, it’s not often you get to spend any length of time with an Olympics gold winner,” he said.
“Whether it’s sport or successful business people, they have the same focus and motivation, so it’s been great to learn from them along the way.”
Zunic made the cut at the Australian Open in Melbourne a fortnight ago, finishing the tournament one-under thanks to an impressive final round 69.
It was a remarkable event for Illawarra golfers, with Tighe, who will also tee up at Royal Pines on Thursday, tied for 14th at -6 and amateur Travis Smyth tied for 28th at -4.
Zunic has never played at the Winter Garden course in Florida, but will have a crash course in the two days before play starts next week.
“I’m confident I can do well, it’s a big opportunity,” he said. “Overall I’ve done pretty well the past couple of months, I didn’t too much wrong (at the Australian Open) it just didn’t all fall for me. It’s an exciting couple of weeks, hopefully I can take the next step.”