Three Aussies secure Open tickets at IFQ
Aaron Townsend, Nick Cullen and Ashley Hall have qualified for the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes thanks to their top three finishes at Australasia International Final Qualifying (IFQ).
In unseasonal conditions at Kingston Heath, which saw 91km wind gusts and lightening storms players were forced off the course for over two hours before Aaron Townsend eventually finished atop the leaderboard with a 4-under-par 140.
Ashley Hall (Credit: Anthony Powter)
“It was such a grind out there today it was so hard to hit the right club any kind of distance so it was just a guessing game,” said Townsend.
“Thankfully my short game was brilliant, I was able to hit the ball up and down a lot and just keep things going along in the right direction.”
“It’s fantastic it’s going to finally sink in over tonight and tomorrow but I couldn’t be happier.”
Also finding the conditions challenging were Nick Cullen and Ash Hall who, along with Peter Senior finished tied for second at 1-under the card.
Senior who finished his round earlier than the qualifying trio spent an anxious wait as the clubhouse leader while Hall went on to birdie the 18th to join him. Cullen bogeyed his final hole to give up his outright second place and join Senior and Hall in a playoff.
Just one playoff hole, the 7th was needed to decide the final two qualifiers as Cullen and Hall each birdied the par 5 hole to leave Senior out of The Open when he made par.
Not his first time at IFQ, a patient Hall was happy to have finally qualified.
“It’s amazing I have been thinking about this ever since they brought the IFQ out to Australia so I have had a few goes at this, at least five or six, so I am pretty pumped right now,” said Hall.
“This is exactly like the British Open is going to be, my short game is going to be important so I just have to stay pretty patient and I was patient today.”
For all three this will be their first trip to a Major Championship yet 27-year-old Cullen, the youngest of the trio isn’t intimidated by the prospect.
“I really haven’t had time to think about it too much, of course you always dream of playing majors when you are a kid and playing next to the best guys in the world and I am just looking forward to a chance to do that,” said Cullen.
“I think I’ll go well, I like the wind and as long as I work hard I think I will do alright,” he added.
Source – PGA Australia