by Dave Tease
Hayden Gulliver has beenn doing some travelling around NSW in recent weeks after just one thing – a spot in this year’s NSW Open at Twin Creeks in November.
On Sunday, in the Thurgoona Bowl, he cemented it with a sublime display of golf.
The 21-year-old from Maitland in the Hunter Valley carded rounds of 68 and 69 for a 7 under total of 137. In a distant second, some 10 shots behind were Daniel Gill and defending champion Zach Murray.
“It was a good two days,” Gulliver smiled.
“Yesterday I hit about 16 or 17 greens; I holed a few putts, it could’ve had a little bit less, but 68 is still a good score.
“Today I hit the first 13, maybe 14 greens in regulation. I played solid. I was five under through 14 but bogeyed two on the way home.
“It just sort of all clicked.”
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Gulliver has been a regular competitor in the NSW Open Regional Qualifying series over the last couple of years. He has been close a few times, just three weeks ago he finished runner-up in the Moree event and last week made the trek to Camden without success.
“I tried doing the RQ’s last year. I got close a few times.
“I thought I could jag one of the regional ones this year,” he smiled.
Gulliver has been in solid form all year. He began 2018 with a pleasing 19th place finish in the medal rounds of the Australian Amateur, before losing in the round of 32 of the matchplay. He said working part-time in a department store has given him plenty of time to improve his game.
“I work four-hour shifts at Big W, but get to play golf for the rest of the day.
“It suits me golf-wise except the 5.30am shifts. I don’t like doing them.
“I would rather wake up to go to golf than work,” he laughed.
The NSW Open will be Gulliver’s first start in a pro tournament. It is a goal he has chased for a while and part of a journey he hopes will one day take him into the professional ranks.
“This will be my first start in a pro tournament. It will be a good experience.
“It’s worth the trip, I can’t wait; I’ll be ready to go,” he smiled.
Dave Robb and Jason Cawthray have grabbed the two qualifying places for the 2018 NSW Senior Open at Thurgoona in October.