The Queenslander ran down compatriot Terry Pilkadaris’ five shot overnight lead with an eagle and four straight birdies on the back nine to finish 27 under.
Daniel Nisbet holds the Brodie Breeze Trophy – Photo Credit: Photoshoport.nz
Nisbet’s four round 258 shot total saw him break the tournament low score (26 under) set by Kel Nagle in 1964.
“We have some great family ties with Kel Nagle. One of my neighbours who recently passed was a great friend with Kel and they kept him updated with my very junior golf. It is a surreal thing to be put up against him and beat his record when there is so much extended family history with him,” Nisbet said.
“I’ve been aggressive all week so I just wanted to stay aggressive and attack the pins and I just wanted to hole a few more putts.”
Nisbet had eaten into Pilkadaris’ buffer over the first nine holes, but it looked as if he was starting to run out of time to haul him in.
An eagle on the 460m par 5 10th hole for the second time in as many rounds helped Nisbet to a share of the lead, before a blistering four birdie finish secured him the Brodie Breeze trophy and a rousing round of applause from the crowd surrounding Millbrook Resort’s island 18th green.
That applause has not been heard a lot in the decade since Nisbet won the Australian schoolboys title, with just one professional win to the 27-year-old’s name.
“I get that question a little bit – you know, where have you been for a few years?” he said.
“I played really well this week, I played really well two weeks prior as well. What this leads to in the future, I don’t know. My coach, Richard Woodhouse, my wife Ashley, she does all my training for me, all my programmes – we just want to keep doing the same thing, it’s working at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get a few more starts out of this win and try and replicate it.”
Nisbet collects AU$191,000 for the biggest win of his career, as well as three guaranteed starts on the Japan Tour, the rest of this season and the next on the Asian Tour and through until the end of 2020 on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
Pilkadaris began the day hoping to break a 13-year winning drought which had included six runner-up finishes.
Having dined out on a birdie buffet for most of the week, he had to wait until the 11th hole before he recorded his first red number and then was helpless to stop Nisbet from running away from him over the final four holes, finishing in second place at 25 under.
“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,” Pilkadaris, who wasn’t troubled by the bad stomach which had affected him on Saturday, said.
“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.
“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.”
Asian Tour player Jarin Todd (United States) finished third on 22 under.
Rookie professional Nick Voke finished as the leading New Zealander, a final round 66 seeing him finish in a tie for seventh and a skydiving date with his caddy in the morning.
“It feels pretty special, it really does. Growing up there were the amateur events as I was going through the ranks but this is the pinnacle of our game here. This is my first time competing in Queenstown and it’s been a pretty good week.”
Voke, who was paired with Korean golfing star KJ Choi through the first two rounds, had promised his caddy they would go skydiving if they managed a top 10 finish.
“I’ve got to do some research tonight and get up early in the morning and hopefully it’s a good day for us.”
The Iowa State alumnus will return to the United States next month for PGA Tour – Canada Q School.
“It’s all a progression in the right direction. I played really good last week at the PGA, I shot five over and then 18 under the last three rounds. You could say I’m in pretty good form. There’s a couple of things I need to take care of and I know that. We had a good week, but still there’s a lot to learn.”
New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier claimed the Bledisloe Cup as the tournament’s leading amateur, finishing 16 under in a share of 23rd place.
“Entering the week I was thinking it would be great to make the cut, and to be in the third last group on the final day was amazing,” he said.
“Just being in such great atmosphere. There are so many guys here who are renowned on tour and to be mixing it with them for four days is a real honour. Obviously to be in Queenstown, such a beautiful part of New Zealand, I was happy to create an experience here.”
Hillier had little time to reflect on a big week, flying out to Qatar in the morning to represent Asia-Pacific against Europe in the Bonallack Trophy.
A group of former New Zealand Open Champions, including Sir Bob Charles, were on hand for the presentation, no doubt with a weather-eye towards next year’s 100th Open.