Australian leads NZ Amateur Stroke Play in Taupo
BY iseekgolf.com | New Zealand Mens Amateur Tour | 2004 New Zealand Amateur Championship | Round Three | 21 Apr 2004
A more conservative approach by 21-year-old Australian Andrew McKenzie paid dividends as he assumed the lead after three rounds of the New Zealand 72-hole stroke-play championship.
McKenzie, 21, dropped a shot at the last at Taupo’s Centennial course today, but he still signed for a six-under 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round tomorrow.
Hot on his heels are 19-year-old Manawatu-Wanganui amateur Riki Kauika, whose 65 equalled the course record set by Tim Wilkinson three years ago, and one of the overnight leaders, Victorian Jarrod Lyle, who fired a three-under 69 in the ideal conditions.
Still very much in the race for the St Andrew’s Salver are Jason McIntosh, the home club’s pride and joy who has strung together three successive rounds of two-under 70, and the other overnight leader, Waikato international Brad Shilton.
Shilton finished over par for the time today, but his 73 had him on four-under par 212 and just five shots from McKenzie. Western Australian Michael Sim and Wellington’s Aaron Leach, who have been par or better for all three rounds, and Bay of Plenty’s Jae An are all on 213.
After a 75 in the first round, An, 15, has had a brace of 69s.
McKenzie said he went on the attack in the first two rounds and while he had 12 birdies in those 36 holes he also had nine bogeys. He decided to play less aggressively today and instead of attacking the flags which courted danger if the ball went beyond them he played for position on the green.
McKenzie made a flying start, birdieing the fourth, eagling the next, and chipping in for birdie at the sixth. He turned in four-under 33 and was six-under after birdies at 11 and 13. He three-putted the 15th for his first bogey, birdied the next two, and finished with a bogey at the 18th after a “terrible tee shot, a good chip, but a missed putt”.
From the Federal Club in Canberra, McKenzie said he knew the course well after being equal top amateur at the New Zealand under 23 team tournament in Taupo last year and finishing runner-up this year.
“It’s my favourite place to come to in New Zealand. I’ve got to know my billets _ it’s a small place but the people are friendly.” He said he also appreciated the warm weather after playing last year’s championship in bitter cold conditions at Dunedin’s Chisholm Park.
Kauika charged up the leaderboard early after birdieing the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh holes. His round was bogey-free and birdies at 14 and at 16 where he holed a 6m putt, had him seven-under. He had a chance of breaking the course record when he hit the last two greens in regulation, but he missed a 1.5m birdie putt at 17 and a 4m putt at 18 when he misread the line.
Source – NZGA