Less than three weeks out from the now European Tour co-sanctioned 2015 Australian PGA Championship, Nick Cullen has fired a 9-under 61 opening round to lead by two shots on the first day of the European Tour’s Qualifying School at PGA Cataluyna Resort in Spain.
The Australian was immaculate throughout, with four birdies on the way out and five more coming back as his bogey-free start put him ahead of Spain’s Pep Angles and South African Michael G Palmer at the top of the leaderboard.
31 year-old Cullen has plied his trade on the PGA Tour of Australasia for the last five seasons, winning the Australian Masters last year, and now has his sights set on a spot in the 2016 Race to Dubai.
“That’s as good a start as I’ve ever made to a tournament so I’m very happy with it, but it’s such a long week and there’s a lot of golf ahead of us,” he said.
“As much as this week is about trying to finish in that top 25, I think you still need to keep that mindset of trying to win it and then if you don’t then hopefully you’re still up there.”
“I played solid today, hit a lot of good iron shots and putted well. The Stadium Course is definitely going to be a bit tougher tomorrow though so I’ve still got a bit of work to do.”
“It’s my first time at these courses and I’d been told I needed to take advantage on the Tour Course, but in the practice rounds I found them pretty similar if you hit it straight, it’s maybe just a bit tighter, but if you’re playing good golf you can make some birdies and hopefully I can make a few more tomorrow.”
“It’s going to be a hard walk come those last two rounds because I’m not used to it – I’ve never done six rounds and the courses are very up and down so that’ll be interesting come Wednesday and Thursday.”
Australian scores after round 1
Nick Cullen, 9-under 61, 1st
Jason Scrivener, 5-under 65, T9
Dimi Papadatos, 3-under 67, T21
Daniel Gaunt, 2-under 68, T36
Scott Arnold, Even 70, T68
Antonio Murdaca, Even 72, T68
Nathan Holman, Even 70, T68
David Bransdon, 2-over 72, T108
Jake Higginbottom, 3-over 75, T131
Todd Sinnott, 10-over 82, 156th