Cullen, who is in his rookie season on the European Tour and tied for 14th at last week’s Qatar Masters to record one of his better finishes in European Tour events, was round in 70 today, his only real blemish coming when taking double bogey at his 8th hole after three birdies in his first six holes.
Cullen has played the European Challenge Tour in recent years as he tried to secure status at the higher level and managed to do just that when earning his card via Q School late in 2018.
The former Australian Masters and Indonesia Open winner is originally from South Australia but bases himself in the US when not chasing his golfing dreams.
The other Australian in the event, Deyen Lawson, began the tournament with a stunning opening nine of 30 but things would go backward from there eventually finishing his opening round of 72 and following up with a round of 79 dropping 16 shots over his last 25 holes.
Lawson, too, gained his European Tour playing rights at the European Q School late in 2018 and has made five of his previous eight cuts until this week’s disappointing performance especially given his fast start.
New Zealander Josh Geary slipped several places with his round of 73 to be tied for 23rd.
The leader de Jager has opened up a four-shot lead over Spain’s Adri Arnaus and England’s Jack Singh Brar the leader another to be playing his first season on the European Tour but he has been a multiple winner of events in Africa and is enjoying being back in the African continent.
"I had to find my feet a bit at the start of the season but I'm feeling comfortable out here now,” said de Jager.
"I told the guys when we played a practice round on Tuesday, after the desert, you could feel you were in Africa, back in our continent. You get used to the feel of the Kikuyu grass, and the ball travels the same as back home in Pretoria, distance wise, so it really feels like we're back home.”
Last week’s Qatar Masters champion, Justin Harding, reeled off a best of the day 65 to move into a share of 4th place albeit five shots from the lead but might yet be a factor.
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