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Daniel Nisbet Storms to NZ Open Title

Daniel Nisbet is the 2018 New Zealand Open champion. (Photo: Photosport)
Queenslander Daniel Nisbet overcame a six-shot deficit with a final round 62 at the New Zealand Open in Queenstown to claim the biggest title of his career and first on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Nisbet produced seven birdies and one eagle on Sunday at Millbrook Resort to finish at 27 under and leapfrog overnight five-shot leader Terry Pilkadaris who carded a respectable one-under 70 to finish alone in second at 25 under.

“I’ve been aggressive all week so I just wanted to stay being aggressive, attacking pins and just wanted to hole a few more putts,” Nisbet said during the TV trophy presentation.

“Terry inspired me yesterday, he holed a lot yesterday so that was great inspiration.”

Beginning the day at 19 under and in the penultimate group, Nisbet produced three birdies in his first six holes to trim Pilkadaris’ lead to three. 

But the big-hitting Queenslander’s big move came at the par-five 10th when rolled in an eagle putt from close to 40 feet.

Nisbet then reeled off four consecutive birdies from the 14th to the 17th to move two shots clear of Pilkadaris who, remarkably, was bogey-free on Sunday but only managed a lone birdie for the day at the 11th.

Playing the treacherous par-three 18th with the flag tucked in the back left corner of the green near water, Nisbet safely found the right part of the putting surface but hit his long-range birdie putt close to eight feet past the hole.

Chasing his first win anywhere since the PGA Tour China's 2016 Clearwater Bay Open, the 27-year-old rolled in his par putt and the title was his minutes later when Pilkadaris was unable to hole his tee shot at the 18th.

Nisbet's 27 under winning total set a new PGA Tour of Australasia record for the lowest 72-hole score relative to par, beating the previous mark of 26 under which was held by late Australian golf legend Kel Nagle. 

Nisbet said the low scoring relative to par was not a complete surprise in light of the calm conditions that had greeted players all week in Queenstown. 

“After the first day when the weather was so good, we kind of had an inkling that it could get up there but, you know, you’ve got to do it four days in a row so it’s been tough.”

American Jarin Todd finished third at 22 under.

Victorian David Bransdon and American Kurt Kitayama shared fourth at 21 under with New South Welshman Callan O'Reilly who fired a final round 69 playing in the final group with Pilkadaris.

Victory in the co-sanctioned PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour event earns Nisbet full playing rights on both tours until the end of 2019.

FINAL SCORES

2018 NZ OPEN FINAL ROUND HIGHLIGHTS

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