Nisbet completes amazing turnaround with a 62 to win the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open

Sun 04 Mar 2018

Nisbet completes amazing turnaround with a 62 to win the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open


Queenstown, New Zealand, March 4: Australia’s Daniel Nisbet staged an amazing comeback by overturning a six-shot deficit to clinch a deserving victory with a final round nine-under-par 62 at the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open on Sunday.

Overnight leader Terry Pilkadaris of Australia started out the day with a five-shot lead but could not extend his advantage further as his putting touch eluded him on the day that matters most at Millbrook Resort.

Pilkadaris only had one birdie on 11 to show for on his card while Nisbet was simply in his element as he marked his card with six birdies and one eagle to cap his second professional win in stunning fashion.

Nisbet got off to a quick start with a birdie on the second hole. He continued his birdie run on holes four and six again to turn in 32. An eagle-three on 10 then soared him further up the leaderboard, closing the gap with Pilkadaris, who eventually settled for a second-place finish.

Nisbet then stormed home with four birdies in his closing five holes to compile a winning total of 27-under-par 258.

American Jarin Todd closed with a 66 to finish five shots back in third place on his own while compatriot and Asian Tour rookie Kurt Kitayama posted a 65 to share fourth place on 264 with Australians David Bransdon (67) and Callan O’Reilly (69).

Did you know?

  • Terry Pilkadaris first ventured to Asia in 2002 and finished second in Qualifying School.
  • He broke through on the Asian Tour when he won back-to-back titles at the Crowne Plaza Open and Sanya Open in China in 2004.
  • Pilkadaris added his third Asian Tour title when he won the 2005 Brunei Open and has made two appearances at the Open Championship in 2007 and 2009.
  • Daniel Nisbet missed the cut at the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open last year after rounds of 73 and 68.
  • Nisbet came to Queenstown as a caddy in 2010 and he turned professional in 2012. The Australian went on to record his first professional victory in Hong Kong in 2016.
  • Nisbet’s home course is at Caboolture Golf Club in Queensland, Australia which is also the home course for Rod Pampling.
  • Nisbet’s wife is also a fellow golf professional while his coach, Richard Woodhouse was named as the 2016 Australia PGA Coach of the Year.
  • Jarin Todd posted two top-10s at the Shinhan Donghae Open and Resorts World Manila Masters in 2017. He ended the year in 49th place on the Order of Merit.
  • Todd went to the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2014, 2015 and 2017. He finished inside the top-40 twice in 2014 and 2017.
  • Kurt Kitayama finished third at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January and went on to clinch his first Asian Tour Development Tour (ADT) win in Malaysia the same month.
  • Kitayama spent two years playing on the Tour in the United States.
  • He lives in California and he went to school at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
  • Kitayama is ethnically Japanese but he doesn’t speak the language.

Players’ Quotes:

Daniel Nisbet (Aus), Final Round 62 (-9), Total 258 (-27)

The plan today was to be aggressive like I had been for the previous three days. I started roughly yesterday and wanted to get out of the gates better and I managed to do that. I held a good putt on the second hole which gave me a bit of a kick-start.

I knew Terry was playing well yesterday and thought he would continue to play well. I was surprised when I saw we were almost level. When I held the putt for eagle on 10 I saw the board on 11 and then I held a good putt on 11 as well.

I knew it was tight but I thought I would need a really good finish. I thought I would have to hold that par putt on the 18th to win and make him birdie. I didn’t know he had parred 17. I am happy now that I went for birdie on 17. It was a bit of relief.

(On beating Kel Nagle’s record win of 26 under) We have some great family ties with Kel Nagle. One of my neighbours who recently passed was a great field with Kel and they kept him update with my very young junior golf. Uit is a surreal thing to be put up against him and beat his record when there is so much extended family history with him.

It is a great feeling and hard to put into words. I took two months off at the end of last year and miss one event for my mate’s wedding which missed one of our bigger events.

We had the best possible off season. We spent some time re-evaluating and figuring out where we needed to be.

That stretch 14, 15 and 16 are short holes but the wind kicked up a bit. The tee shot I hit off 17 was important. I knew I was in the hunt but needed to make birdie at worst and hit one of the best drives all week and hit 5 iron to the back of the green. Those two shots in there are replaying in my head.

I holed a 10-feet putt yesterday for eagle on 10. I didn’t have a great line today from the rough but I dug it out, it came out well, kept tracking and the putt somehow got to the hole and went in. I didn’t know I had eagled it two days in a row. A putt that long gets you pretty pumped up at that stage of the tournament.

What this leads to in the future I don’t know. We just want to do the same thing. It is working. Hopefully I get a few more starts out of this win.

Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) – Final round 70 (-1), Total 260 (-25)

I didn’t make enough birdies, it’s as simple as that. I didn’t make any mistakes, just didn’t hole the 10 footers that I had been making and then I got to 16 and I saw that Danny had been playing really well.

The length on the 16th and 17th holes weren’t to my favour there. He can get greenside and easy up and down whereas I can’t. Seventeen I just got in the fairway trap and then it was just a lay-up and it wasn’t a good enough wedge shot in.

At the start of the week if you’d said I shoot 25 under, you’d be like ‘yeah I’ll take that’. It’s disappointing not to win, but 62 to beat you, it’s one of those things. I’ve had a run of that. Michael Wright hit it out of the water on 17 at The Vines one year. Matthew Griffin holed a 40-footer up a tier to beat me in the playoff. That’s golf, I guess you’ve got to have your bounces, but it didn’t happen.

I wasn’t too bad. I didn’t eat on the course. I just kept putting myself in the right spots to make the putts but I kept having downhillers and curling putts and there was nothing I could have a good rattle at except for 11 and I made it. I thought ‘ok, we’ll get a bit of momentum here’, A couple of shots just weren’t close enough, especially coming in 16, 17. You hit them to 12-15 feet and it’s just not good enough with a wedge in your hand.

It just seemed like it was going to turn a lot right to left and I was a little bit tentative. Fifteen, I just needed a few more yards with a six iron into it. Sixteen, I couldn’t get it on the green so I went left, seven out of 10 wedge and I had about 12 feet. Again, I had a downhill left to right curler. Under the circumstances you are trying to make birdie.

All hats off to Danny, I mean 62 to win, it’s amazing, that’s great golf. They all sting. I’ve had a bunch of them now. I think this is number seven of runner-ups, but I didn’t hand it to him, he went out and took it and all hats off to him for that.

On a five-shot lead, you know with good weather conditions that someone is going to go low. I thought I plotted my way around the course really well, gave myself the chances, I just didn’t hole the putts.

Gave myself a good birdie putt on six, and then again on eight and didn’t take them. I was hitting good shots so I just had to be patient, birdied 11 and then 12 I was just trying to get it up the left-hand side but I just pulled it a little bit.

Anything can happen with golf, things can turn around really quickly. Even when we were tied, I knew he could get home on 16 and 17 so I knew I had to wedge it well and then anything could happen. Never panicking, but on a golf course when you are walking out with a lead like that you have a bull’s eye on your back and everyone is having a go. Daniel stepped up and had a crack at it, and all credits to him.

Kurt Kitayama (Usa) - Final round Six-under-par 65, Total 264 (-21)

I’ve been playing really well. I’m hitting the ball so much better too and things have been going well. I’m really pleased my result this week has given me a spot in India next week and I’m really looking forward to playing well again.

I played all the par-fives really well this week and I gave myself lots of eagle looks and birdie opportunities. I’m enjoying my time in Asia as I get to travel the world a little bit and it’s a whole new experience for me right now.

Jarin Todd (Usa) - Final round Four-under-par 67, Total 264 (-21)

It has been an amazing week for me and I couldn’t have asked for me. It’s really good to see myself playing well, finishing inside top-five and knowing my game is in the right place. I’ve been striking the ball well all week and I hope to bring all these good aspects of my game over to India next week.

Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha) - Final round Four-under-par 67, Total 270 (-15)

I’m quite happy with how I’ve played over the weekend here in Queenstown. I’m very surprised with the scoring this week. The cut was seven-under which is the lowest on record. The standard of golf here is very high so I’m very happy to be able to make the cut this week.

My winner’s exemption will end this year and I need a good season. I’m happy I managed to get one here this week. I have not felt more confidence about my game as I’ve been making several good shots, especially with my driver. Travelling to New Delhi from here is going to be tough.

I’ll be heading to Melbourne tonight before transiting in Bangkok and then flying to New Delhi. I did not play well there last year and I want to take revenge next week. I’m confident and I think I’ve a good chance.


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