Date: June 18, 2012

Grant Report – Presnell Performs at US Open

Victorian Alistair Presnell showed he is ready for the elite level after an impressive performance in the US Open, won by American Webb Simpson.

Presnell was unaffected by the stellar names surrounding him as he opened and closed with rounds of 70
at the brutal Olympic club in San Francisco.

He eventually finished in a tie for 29th at nine over the card – only eight shots off the pace in what was his first ever major.

Simpson shot a two-under 68 on the final day to finish at one-over 281, one clear of Graeme McDowell (73) and Michael Thompson (67) and two clear of Jim Furyk (74), David Toms (68), Padraig Harrington (68), Jason Dufner (70) and John Peterson (70) who shared fourth at 283.

Presnell, who has been a permanent fixture on the US secondary Nationwide Tour and is also 78th on the OneAsia money list after a handful excursions east, showed this past week that he is ready to join his compatriots on the PGA circuit.

He aims to play in OneAsia’s two "Down Under" events in December — the  Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship but is reassessing his US options right now.

"Look, it has been wonderful to be here," said Presnell, who made it to San Francisco via sectional qualifying. "It has given me a huge amount of confidence – it’s my first Major, and I made the cut.

"But my main priority is the Nationwide Tour, which is why I went down to Mexico to play there last week.  After this its straight back to the Wichita Open, and Indiana after that, and concentrating on trying to get into the top 25 and top five after that."

Australian Anthony Summers, who also made his first Major after sectional qualifying but missed the cut in San Francisco, said he will also take a wealth of experience back with him that should stand him in good stead on OneAsia.

"I think I have definitely learnt from the experience," he said. "Next up is the Thailand Open and I am gunning for that."

Simpson, meanwhile, said he always believed a major trophy was in his destiny, after becoming the 15th consecutive different winner in grand slam tournaments.

"If I was honest with you, I believed in myself I could win a major, but maybe not so soon," Simpson said.

"This is just my fourth or fifth major and I just gained all the respect for the guys who have won multiple majors, because it’s so hard to do.

"The level of pressure is so much greater than a regular event.

"To be honest, I never really wrapped my mind around winning."

John Senden was the pick of the Australians, finishing with a final-round 72 to be tied 10th at five-over par.

Simpson collects a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour and the three other majors plus a 10-year exemption to the US Open – as well as a $A1.43 million winner’s cheque.

He started the day four off the lead and bogeyed two of the first five holes but ignored the leaderboard and four birdies in his next five holes corrected his round.

Eight straight pars to finish turned out to be enough when both Furyk and McDowell failed to birdie the final hole to force a playoff.

"I’ve been a leaderboard watcher my whole life but with what pressure a major brings I just didn’t think it would do any good to see where I was at," the 26-year-old said of his decision not to watch the numbers.

"So much can happen, even if I was two up or three up or even five back, so much can happen during the middle part of the golf course, so I didn’t look again.

"I told myself don’t get too excited, don’t try to win. Luckily I made some putts, and got a couple under out of it.

"Given the circumstances and pressure, I was happy I wasn’t in the final group."

Adam Scott was left to rue a poor first round after shooting his third consecutive 70 on the final day, leaving him tied for 15th at six over, his best-ever US Open finish.