Nick Cullen hopes for repeat at NZ Open

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2012
Nick Cullen
Getty Images
MORE PLEASE: South Australia’s Nick Cullen is hoping he can again use the New Zealand Open as a springboard for a successful season.

Relevant offers

Golf

Lower Hutt teens Julianne Alvarez and Daniel Hillier win NZ amateur titles Lydia Ko's coach David Leadbetter warns she risks burn-out if she doesn't slow down Troy Merritt leads RBC Heritage by three, Jordan Spieth in the hunt Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat grabs Shenzhen lead despite late woes Peter Uihlein leads in windy Shenzhen as Bubba Watson wilts Jordan Spieth suffers post-Masters blues with 'off day' Huang leads in Shenzhen as Watson struggles with green speed World No 1 golfer Rory McIlroy leaves actor Jamie Dornan in shade on football pitch Otere Black has the rugby world at his feet Josh Munn and Chantelle Cassidy prepare for New Zealand amateur golf champs

Nick Cullen has a lot to thank Clearwater and the New Zealand Open for.

The 28-year-old South Australian considers last year's tournament, when he finished fifth equal, his "launching pad".

By finishing in the top five, he was guaranteed his Australasian PGA card and entry into the Australian Masters the week after his New Zealand trip.

He picked up A$15,200 (NZ$19,300) at Clearwater and another A$7900 a week later at the Masters which helped him make the top 25 on the tour's moneylist.

More opportunities followed and as doors opened Cullen jumped through them.

He picked up starts on the OneAsia Tour and won the Indonesian Open.

"So I've got great memories from here and positive thoughts," he said.

Victorian Leigh Deegan had a chance to birdie the 72nd hole in last year's Open that would have cost Cullen his top five spot and all that came with it.

"I thanked him after he missed it, that's for sure."

Cullen is the top ranked Australian in the field this week, but opted not to talk up his chances.

"I'm hitting it really well at the moment. [But the ranking] doesn't mean much.

"Obviously you've got some in-form players; Gareth Paddison, Mike Hendry and Mark Brown have all been playing really well in the last month or two.

"I think they're the players to beat."

Cullen has just returned to Australasia from the second stage of PGA Tour qualifying in the United States and quietly likes his chances at Clearwater.

"My chances are good, my putting is starting to come around . . . If I play well, I'm sure I'll be up there."

Cullen leads a group of 93 internationals - 91 of them Australians - trying to extend New Zealand's nine-year winless drought at the tournament.

With four top-10 finishes on the Australasian circuit this year and past form at Clearwater, he is definitely a player to watch.

Ad Feedback

- Canterbury

Special offers
Opinion poll

If she is able to, when do you expect Lydia Ko to win her first major?

Next year, she's so close

She's still working towards it, within three years

It may be longer than we think, within five years

The expectation might be too much, maybe never

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content