His first top-20 finish as a member of the European Tour and an ace worth $US155,000; Jake McLeod’s debut at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is one he is unlikely to forget.
McLeod, Nick Cullen and Min Woo Lee all began the final round within striking distance of the lead but all three were unable to keep pace with the leaders, Cullen’s tie for 14th the best as South African Justin Harding recorded his maiden European Tour title.
Despite any Sunday disappointment it was an extraordinary week for the Australian contingent with first Deyen Lawson making his second hole-in-one of the season at the 142-metre par-3 17th in the second round followed by McLeod’s ace in the third.
After making birdie at the par-5 1st, McLeod jump-started his third round of 6-under 66 with a perfect strike at the 204m par-3 third that earned him $US155,000 prize voucher courtesy of Qatar Duty Free.
Fresh from his maiden WGC appearance at the Mexico Championship, McLeod’s first top-20 in Europe since winning the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit moves him up to 77th in the Race to Dubai standings and a good platform for which to build from for the rest of the year.
Three dropped shots in the space of two holes midway through the front-9 sucked the wind out of Cullen’s sails on Sunday.
The South Australian – who only a month ago lamented how cruel the game could be on Twitter – played the final round in the final group but his even-par round of 72 saw him fall 12 spots down the leaderboard.
His fall could have been far greater, the left-hander rescuing his round and boosting his bank balance with three consecutive birdies to close out his round.
Lee, in the running to be crowned February Golfer of the Month, added to the extraordinary opening to his professional career with his third top-20 finish in five starts on the European Tour.
Lucas Herbert was the only other Australian to make the cut, finishing tied for 48th.
This week the European Tour moves to Africa for the Kenya Open where Cullen, Lawson and Kiwi Josh Geary are currently entered.
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters|
Doha Golf Club, Qatar
|T14||Nick Cullen||69-70-68-72—279||€ 22,436|
|T20||Min Woo Lee||75-66-67-73—281||€ 17,161|
|T20||Jake McLeod||72-70-66-73—281||€ 17,161|
|T48||Lucas Herbert||69-73-70-74—286||€ 6,855|
|T55||Deyen Lawson||70-68-76-73—287||€ 4,964|
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