Date: January 11, 2012

Trio book places at 2012 Open Championship

FINAL SCORES – IFQ AUSTRALASIA Australians Aaron Townsend, Nick Cullen and Ashley Hall qualified for the 2012 Open Championship at Australasia International Final Qualifying (IFQ) today. In unseasonal conditions at Melbourne s Kingston Heath, which saw wind gusts of more than 55mph and lightning storms, players were forced off the course for over two hours before Townsend eventually won the 36-hole event with a 4-under-par 140. 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 Cullen and Hall who, along with Peter Senior, finished tied for second with 1-under-par totals. Senior, who finished his round earlier in the day, had an anxious wait in the clubhouse as Hall went on to birdie the 18th to join him on 143. 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 Senior s par was not good enough to match birdie fours by Cullen and Hall as the pair booked their places at Royal Lytham & St Annes for the 141st Open Championship this July. Hall was delighted to have finally qualified after several failed attempts over previous years. It’s amazing, said Hall. 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. This is exactly like The 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. Cullen, the youngest of the trio at 27, is not 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. The next International Final Qualifying event of 2012 takes place in South Africa on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 January at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington.