Hot form continues for Bowditch at New Zealand PGA

BY | Tour | 2005 New Zealand PGA Championship | Round One | 24 Feb 2005
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For the third consecutive week, Australian Steven Bowditch leads the field after shooting a bogey free, eight birdie round to finish at 8 under, 64, on day one of the ING New Zealand PGA Championship at Clearwater Golf Club today.

Two weeks ago Bowditch lead the Holden NZ Open at Gulf Harbour and just last week he led the field at 11 under after day one of the Jacobs Creek Open, the event he went on to win to take his first ever Nationwide Tour title.

After doubts yesterday as to how ready he was for the event, Bowditch couldn’t have been happier with his game.

“I woke up this morning and felt ready to play,” he said. " I was in a good mindset, got to the first tee, hit a good drive and from there pretty much everything went right. I really feel like I put in a good days work. You could say it was a nice walk in the park."

The first round at this years event is a far cry from his first appearance three years ago when he arrived fresh as a new professional, shot a first round 79 and eventually missed the cut in 144th position, but then, lots of things have changed since then.

Coming into this event Bowditch has last weeks Jacob’s Creek title under his belt, the 2004 Queensland Open title, a third at the 2004 Hillross Australian Open and a fourth at the 2004 MasterCard Masters.

Two shots behind Bowditch on 6 under are a group of five players including 2002 PGA Champion Peter O’Malley.

38-year-old O’Malley, playing in his 18th year as a professional, had three birdies on the first nine to take him to three under going onto the back nine but a flourish of birdies on the 16th, 17th & 18th saw him pick up three shots to finish tied for 2nd at the end of the day with fellow Australian Darren Beck, local boy Tony Christie, Canadian Jon Mills and American Brent Schwarzrock.

22-year-old Beck from NSW, found himself at the top end of the table after a round of 66, which included eight birdies and an eagle. Beck, a former NSW Amateur Champion, finished T1 with Gavin Flint at the 2004 PGA Tour Of Australasia Qualifying School with a career best round of 66 which he equalled today.

Victorian Jarrod Lyle had a steady afternoon round of 5 birdies, 13 pars and no eagles, putting himself in a good position for tomorrow, at 5 under, 67, three shots off the pace. Lyle is joined by Taree born Steven Jeffress who finished his round of 67 with 6 birdies. Three Americans including Ken Duke, Jeff Gove, Aaron Barber also finished with Lyle and Jeffress.

Not far off is veteran Wayne Grady who sits on 4 under with a group of 7. Grady has had a good start to the year with a T6 in last weeks Jacobs Creek Open. Also on 4 under with Grady is Queensland’s Simon Nash and New Zealand’s David Smail.

Play resumes at the ING NZ PGA Championship tomorrow with the first groups teeing off at 7:30am

Source – PGA Tour
Photo – Anthony Powter

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