2 Dec 2011

Cusdin felt at his best after first round lead

6:02 am on 2 December 2011

The little-known Waikato professional golfer Jim Cusdin defied the strengthening afternoon winds to claim a share of the lead in the first round of the New Zealand Open in Christchurch.

He joined Queensland professional Brad Kennedy as joint round one leaders after firing four-under par 68s at the Clearwater Golf Club.

The pair leads Australian Leigh McKechnie and Kiwi Doug Holloway (69) by one shot with 2003 New Zealand Open champion Mahal Pearce (70) only one shot further back. He shares fifth place with 2002 champion Craig Parry, and fellow Australian professional Nicholas Cullen.

After the morning field had made the most of the calmer conditions, Cusdin defied the challenging nor-easterly winds with a superb display, reaching the lead at one stage on five-under after just 10 putts in his first nine holes.

After a double bogey and bogey he dropped to two-under, but rallied with the maturity beyond his 26 years to make two late birdies.

The recent Tauranga Open winner on the Charles Tour was delighted with his play saying he felt he couldn't do anything wrong despite the couple of mistakes on his back 9.

Cusdin plans to move to Melbourne in 2012 with his girlfriend for a full year on the Australasian Tour and is hoping for better status with a good performance this week.

Tournament draw card Michael Campbell got off to a fast start in the morning when he was two under after five holes but faded to card a five over 77.