Date: July 17, 2012

Exclusive: Nick Cullen ready for Major debut at Open

EXCLUSIVE Golf Australia Rookie Squad member Nick Cullen has been waiting for this week since that wet and very windy Wednesday in January when he came through a play-off to qualify for his first trip to The Open Championship. On that day at International Final Qualifying (Australasia), Kingston Heath was buffeted by winds in excess of 91 kilometres per hour -and some suggested it was perfect preparation for the links at Lytham. Nearly seven months later, Cullen has landed at Royal Lytham and St Annes, ready for his first start in a Major and likes the layout. “I&aposve played it a couple of times now. It&aposs a great course,” Cullen said. “There are a lot of mid length par 4s that are brutal because they play into the prevailing wind. The bunkers are penalising and the rough is thick, so hitting fairways is really important but it&aposs a fair test.” “If you play good shots, you are rewarded. The greens are perfect so there should be some good putting over the week,” he said. Cullen&aposs form so far this year bodes well. He won his maiden professional title at the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesian Open Championship by one stroke in March and sits second on the OneAsia Order of Merit. “My first goal was to get a win and achieving that was a big relief. I&aposve been working hard and I&aposm getting the results for that so its pleasing knowing I&aposm doing the things I need to do to keep improving,” Cullen said. The South Australian said he was enjoying the atmosphere of a Major and meeting current players and some of the game&aposs legends. “Everyone seems pretty excited and a little more upbeat compared to normal events,” Cullen said. “It&aposs a great experience for me, meeting a lot of great players and legends in golf. I met Adam Scott today, played holes with Aaron Baddeley and chatted with Bob Vokey.” “In saying that it&aposs just another tournament come Thursday and you&aposre out there trying to beat all the other guys, same as every other week,” he added. – Hamish Jones