Nick Cullen wins Indonesian Open
BY Bruce Young | OneAsia Tour | 2012 Indonesia Open | Wrap | 25 Mar 2012
South Australian Nick Cullen has won the most significant event of his professional career and with it a cheque for US$172,000 when he held on to defeat New Zealander David Smail by one shot at the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesian Open near Jakarta.
The left hander, Cullen, has been knocking on the door of contention in a number of events in recent times with top five finishes at the Victorian and New Zealand Opens but at 648 in the world prior to this week, the victory will provide quite an elevation in status in many respects.
Sunday’s victory was 27-year-old Cullen’s first major victory as a professional and making his success even more distinguished is the fact that the event is jointly sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation, and is the season opener for both.
The victory will also ensure Cullen earns a start at the European Tour’s Volvo China Open which has only limited starts for its One Asia co sanctioned players.
Cullen already has a start at this year’s Open Championship at Lytham & St Annes courtesy of International Final Qualifying in Melbourne earlier this year.
“This means the world to me," he said afterwards."I have been practicing hard and playing well but I didn’t know what to expect when I came here. It is only my second time playing in Asia and it’s very different compared with playing at home particularly with a different climate and food.”
Another New Zealander, Michael Long, Japanese player Yoshikazu Haku and American David Oh finished one shot further back in a share of third.
Cullen led by four over resurgent West Australian Stephen Leaney heading into the final round and through 14 holes he appeared to be cruising to a career changing victory. Then came a triple bogey at the 14th hole, opening up an opportunity for those behind on the leaderboard.
Smail began his final round six shot behind the lead and his plight was worsened when he bogeyed his opening hole in round four. The successful Japan Tour player fought back and when he birdied the 17th hole he had a share of the lead before Cullen, playing in the group behind, would also birdie the par five 17th to edge ahead for the final time.
Long birdied six of his first eleven holes to get within striking distance but could not finish it off although a share of third position was an encouraging week for West Australian based New Zealander.
Haku and Oh both bogeyed the final hole to drop out of a share for second position with Smail and added a few extra dollars to the cheques of Smail and Long.
Leaney bogeyed two holes late to cost himself a chance of a high finish but for the 43 year old former PGA Tour player who has battled illness and form issues for several seasons now this was an encouraging week.
Many of those in this week’s field including Cullen, Long and Smail now head to Queenstown in New Zealand for the reformatted NZPGA Pro Am Championship.
279 – Nick Cullen (AUS) 72-66-67-74
280 – David Smail (NZL) 68-69-74-69
281 – Michael Long (NZL) 75-73-68-65, Yoshikazu Haku (JPN) 70-69-74-68, David Oh (USA) 72-67-71-71
282 – Satoshi Tomiyama (JPN) 71-70-74-67, Hu Mu (CHN) 73-68-71-70, Stephen Leaney (AUS) 72-70-67-73
283 – Rory Hie (INA) 73-70-72-68, Liang Wenchong (CHN) 69-73-72-69, Park Eun-shin (KOR) 74-69-69-71
284 – Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 74-68-74-68, Kim Meen-Whee (KOR) 70-70-74-70.
285 – Naoto Nakanishi (JPN) 72-71-73-69, Jay Choi (USA) 71-72-71-71, Ashley Hall (AUS) 70-74-67-74
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