Price is right at Holden New Zealand Open

BY | Australasian PGA Tour | 2004 New Zealand Open | Round Three | 17 Jan 2004
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A putting tip from one of Australia’s rising young stars Aaron Baddeley has been gratefully accepted and acknowledged by one of the veterans of the Australasian tour, Terry Price.

Price, 43, and twice the age of Baddeley, twice the Australian Open champion, putted confidently on quickening greens this afternoon to eke out a one-shot lead in the 87th Holden New Zealand Open golf championship at The Grange in Auckland.

Price, winner of the 1993 Air New Zealand Shell Open on the same course 11 years ago, will start tomorrow’s final round a stroke ahead of overnight leader, Auckland amateur Brad Heaven, and Queenslander Chris Downes.

Alone in fourth place, on seven-under and two behind Price, was unheralded New South Welshman Ricky Schmidt, while Palmerston North professional Richard Best, who fired the day’s best round of six-under 64, had moved from equal last after 36 holes to equal fifth with Victorian Euan Walters on six-under.

The fluctuating wind shifts caught up with favourite Peter O’Malley, who was second overnight at eight under. He crashed to six-over 76 today with one birdie which was more than cancelled out by five bogeys and one double bogey.

Price said he had been playing well in Europe last year and started the Australasian circuit promisingly before putting his way out of contention in the Australian Open last month..

“Aaron Baddeley was standing on the putting green by himself on Saturday afternoon. For me it was either to talk to Aaron or have a beer. I thought I might as well spend the time more productively and I went and chatted to him. He was just rolling balls in left, right, and centre.”

“He was kind enough to spend a bit of time with me. His putting stats in the last couple of years in America have shown him to be No. 1.”

“He stayed with me for about two hours that afternoon. It didn’t do anything for me the next day but I took it home with me for the last few weeks, spent a couple of afternoons having a fiddle with it and I started rolling a few in.”

Price holed nothing longer than a 12 foot putt during his four-under 67, but he was safe and sound with the short putts on firmer greens. He said he enjoyed battling in tougher conditions and hoped the swirling winds and fast greens would prevail again tomorrow.

He said that his one-shot lead could not be called significant with 12 players within five shots and others likely to make moves in the better morning conditions.

He had four birdies and just one bogey, while Downes had five birdies and four bogeys.

Heaven was two-over on the front nine and had two birdies and two bogeys on the homeward half.

Schmidt, playing his first New Zealand Open after gaining exemption through his 10th placing on the Von Nida tour last year, had just one bad hole, a double bogey at the par-3 15th when he and playing partner David Bransdon were both caught by a lull in the wind.

He knocked it through the green and was “dead” out the back.

Until that hole he was on a roll, a 30ft putt across the slope dropping in for birdie at the 11th and he two-putted the par-5 12th for birdie. The birdie run extended to three when he chipped in on the testing par-4 13th.

He was out in two-under 33 and back in 33 with four birdies and the double bogey on the back nine. He has every chance of surpassing his best placing on the Australasian tour _ a 19th in the Australian PGA championship

Best, twice a New Zealand world Eisenhower amateur representative, had seven birdies and just the one bogey. Since turning professional about four years ago he has played the Asian Tour but he will not be heading back this year after finding the constant traveling and moderate results a handicap.

Source – New Zealand Open

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