CARRUS OPEN: CUSDIN ENJOYS BREAKTHROUGH WIN

18/09/2011

Jim Cusdin plans to take tomorrow off work – he thinks he deserves it after claiming his first four round win as a professional.

The Waikato pro won the Carrus Tauranga Open by two shots when he fired a four under 66 in wet conditions and endured a memorable battle with New Zealand number one amateur Ryan Fox that went all the way to the 72nd hole.

Cusdin, who made fine birdies on the 14th and 16th, looked to be home for the title until he bogeyed the 17th to allow Fox to get within one shot. Coming down the last Fox hit a poor tee shot right into the trees and that made Cusdin’s job that much easier.

The likeable pro, who had not played since the ask>metro Muriwai Open in May, overcame “some serious nerves” to hit the green in regulation. He capped off his fine week at the Tauranga Golf Club with a birdie putt from around 20 feet for a 15 under par total to seal the win.

The 26-year-old has been a player of promise for some time and this week he delivered on that overcoming a quality field that included the likes of Michael Hendry (-12) and Gareth Paddison (-10), who finished third and fourth respectively.

Cusdin has won many two-day pro-am events both on the local and international stage but regarded this four round win in tough conditions as the biggest moment of his golf career.

“To win here against a really top quality field is great,” said the 26-year-old. “It is huge to get my first four round win as a professional. I have been in contention before but never managed it and this win confirms that I am good enough, I am stoked.”

The expected charge from 2009 champion Hendry came as he managed a six under 64 but Paddison was disappointed with his final round even par 70. Both of them never threatened the lead of Cusdin in the closing stages.

The final round was truncated by a two hour 20 minute rain delay as rain made the Tauranga greens unplayable. The leaders had only played six holes and Cusdin admitted it was unsettling but just started again.

“The key was staying patient in that time. We were all keen to get back out there but we just had to wait and make sure that we were ready to go when the rain cleared and the course was playable.”

He enjoyed the battle with the 24-year-old Fox who pushed him hard all day.

“Foxy was playing pretty solidly and put me under a fair bit of pressure. He got to within one shot a few times and was always there or thereabouts. I was so nervous coming down the last. I was just trying to lag my putt up to the hole from around 20 feet and it was a huge amount of relief to see it go in. It is a great feeling.”

Fox, who finished third in 2009 at the Carrus Tauranga Open, paid tribute to Cusdin for his performance.

“Jim played superbly,” said the New Zealand rep. “He has never been in that position before, of leading a four round tournament, but he never showed it. He played like a seasoned professional today.”

The son of All Black great Grant was pleased with his week that saw him finish as the leading amateur. It is just another good performance at home in a stellar season.

“I didn’t quite get there but I am proud of my effort this week. I hit a poor last tee shot down the 18th. I was going for a big one down there so I was in a good position to attack the back right pin placement but I came up and out of it and ended up hitting it right behind a tree. In the end I made a damn good par. I knew I had to make birdie down the last so it was an all or nothing play. In the end Jim made birdie anyway and he deserved his win.

“I consider this my first real chance to win on the Charles Tour. I have always been close but more playing for position than the title so it was nice to be in the heat of the battle coming down the stretch.

“It’s my best result on the Charles Tour so I have to take that as a positive. It will me give confidence going into my upcoming events in the Asian Amateur and the Panasonic Open [professional event]. My game is in good shape.”

Cusdin will also take huge confidence from his best golfing moment and reflected on the biggest moment of the tournament.

“I played really solid today and I was proud of how I performed under the pressure of being the leader. If there was one moment that was a standout from today it was my tee shot to the par
3 14th. I hit it to about four feet and made the putt for birdie that was a big moment because at that stage Foxy was only one back.

“I have been there or thereabouts and to finally win is a special feeling.”

New Zealand rep Emily Perry shot an even par 72 in the final round to defeat professional Charlotte Thomas (73) by four shots on a five under par total.

 

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