By Sylvester Gawi – EM TV, Lae
Image Credits: PGA Queensland
Daniel Nisbet has won his first international professional tournament taking out the Morobe Open in a three-hole playoff with Tim Hart.
After starting the day two shots ahead of Hart and New Zealander Shaun Riordan, Nisbet struggled on the front nine and when Hart turned in four under par and Nisbet two over, he found himself four shots behind with just nine holes to play.
The tide started to turn back towards Nisbet when he birdied the tenth, and when Hart made bogey at the same hole, the margin was just two strokes.
After Hart’s approach to the par five 15th hole finished just 6 feet from the flag, it was left to Nisbet to put the pressure on Hart by draining a 25 foot birdie putt to post a 72 hole total of 14 under par.
“It was a left to right putt and knowing Tim was in there close, I just wanted to give it a chance to go in. When it went in though it was a bit surreal – one of the moments you only dream about,” said Nisbet.
With the pressure on, Hart holed his putt to join Nisbet at 14 under par and force a playoff. The three hole playoff conducted over the 10th, 11th and 18th holes would see the lowest aggregate score over the three holes win the title and when both players made birdie on the 10th and par on the 11th.
With a healthy crowd watching on, Hart missed the green with his third shot and when he got it up and down for par, it was left to Nisbet with an eight foot par for the win – a putt that would go straight into the middle.
“I have been thinking about winning my first four round professional tournament for so long, and it is everything I ever imagined it would be” mentioned Nisbet.
“In my first time to PNG I really didn’t have an idea as to what to expect though I was really pleasantly surprised at the course, but more importantly the great hospitality the people have shown us this week has been second to none.”
Both Hart and Nisbet are both coached by 2013 QLD PGA Teaching Professional of the Year Richard Woodhouse and Nisbet discussed the work the two had been doing over the summer.
“Richard has been a great support both on and off the course and we have made some good progress over recent months. I have been working on some better hip movement on my down swing and under pressure today it really held up well”.
“Finishing 9th at last year’s Australian Open was probably the difference out there today. I certainly drew from what was the most pressure I had ever been under at the time and I have no doubt it helped to get across the line today”.
Nisbet takes home more than AU$20,000 for his efforts, the lion’s share of the AU$110,000 prize money. This has also taken him to the top of both the Choice Hotels PGA Pro Am Series Sunshine Swing Order of Merit and the PGA’s National Rankings.
The Professionals now head to the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club for next week’s AU$152,250 South Pacific Export Papua New Guinea Open.