Cullen ends ‘perfect week’ with QLD Open win

A course record seven-under par 65 on Saturday and a maiden PGA Tour of Australasian win were reasons why Nick Cullen called this ‘pretty much the perfect week’, after the South Australian held off veteran Peter O’Malley to win the Isuzu Queensland Open at Brookwater Golf and Country Club.

The day after his course record round, Cullen played great golf in superb conditions to shoot a three-under 69 to finish the tournament at 9-under par, five strokes ahead of O’Malley.

The margin of victory belied the closeness of the contest with Cullen the beneficiary of a two shot swing at both the 12th and 18th holes, with birdies to O’Malley’s bogeys.

“It feels great, it’s been a long time between drinks so to finally have another one feels awesome,” said Cullen, who’s only other win on a major tour was the 2012 Indonesia Open in his rookie season on OneAsia.

“The whole time I was wary that Pom was really close, he was only two, three, even one shot behind me for a lot of the day.”

“Pom’s such a great competitor and such a great golfer, and has been for a long time. His iron shots are amazing and his wedges, he never let up all day so I knew I couldn’t if I wanted to.”

Nick Cullen Nick Cullen holds the 2013 QLD Open trophy (Credit: PGA Australia)

Both players made the turn as they started, Cullen a shot clear of O’Malley, with daylight to the rest of the field.

Cullen then birdied the 10th from close range to extend the margin to two before the swing on 12 opened up a four-stroke margin that the veteran could not peg back.

“This is course where two shots or three shots can disappear on one hole. Honestly until I was 15 feet away on the last, I wasn’t ready to relax,” Cullen said.

For O’Malley, any disappointment in not winning was short lived as he was thankful just to be back playing golf after an extended layoff, which included some arthroscopic surgery to his knee recently. 

“I just made a few too many mistakes on the back nine. I haven’t been playing a lot of golf so it was great to be back playing and in contention,” he said, “Nick played fantastic golf, he went out and just did everything right so full credit to him.”

A four-under 68 elevated Victorian David McKenzie into outright third at 2-under while the only other par to finish under par in the field, Jake Higginbottom, finished fourth at 1-under.

A further shot back in a tie for fifth were Victorian Scott Laycock, West Australian Jason Scrivener and New Zealander Ryan Fox.

Fox wowed not only the crowd but playing partners Cullen and O’Malley with some enormous hitting with none more impressive than at the 483-metre 17th, finding the putting surface in two with just a 9 iron.

The leading amateur was 15-year old Victorian Ryan Ruffels who was highly impressive around the testing layout, finishing at 5-over 293 in a tie for 19th position.