Golfer Zunic aiming to break through in US

A dentist helping sponsor a sports psychologist to accompany an amateur golfer on tour is Jordan Zunic's unusual recipe for success - and he wants it to continue until he turns professional.

Fresh from a maiden national tournament win in last weekend's Tasmanian Open, the Wollongong amateur is eyeing invaluable tournament practice in America.

But it's been the caddying of renowned golfing mind coach Mat Howe, with the financial assistance of Zunic's longtime dentist Dr Ramesh Sivabalan, that has finally helped the young tyro lift a weight off his shoulders.

"To have four rounds under par is always good and that's the first time I've actually done it in a four-round national event," said Zunic after firing a six-under final round to beat West Australian amateur Daniel Hoeve by two shots at Launceston.

"To get a win finally, it's like my brain goes, 'Well you know you can win now and you can do it'. I feel like now I've won one there's more to come.

"He [Howe] has been working with me since I was about 15 - it's been about five or six years - and he knows how my brain works now.

"He's taught me over the years the right way to think and I think that's what made a difference for me last week.

"Knowing how to think and being able to pull off the good shots in the pressure situations [is important] and he's just given me the little triggers to think the right way in moments when you can sort of lose it mentally."

Having made the Australian Open cut as an 18-year-year-old, Zunic has traversed Europe, Asia and South America to continue his golfing education since.

His latest success had him combining with Geoff Drakeford to win the prestigious Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup in Buenos Aires late last year.

"I've been to the UK twice and I just feel like I should go to America because I haven't been there yet to see what their type of golf is," Zunic said.

"That's planned to be in the months of July and August because that's when the tour's on.

"My plan is not to go pro until the end of the year. I'm planning to go to either European Tour School or Asian Tour School.

"Hopefully between now and then I can win a few more tournaments, build a good name for myself so when I turn pro that will open a few doors for sponsors."

Zunic's immediate assignment will be the Riversdale Cup in Melbourne next Thursday.

Jordan Zunic at Port Kembla yesterday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Jordan Zunic at Port Kembla yesterday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI


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