Barnes stands strong at NZ PGA
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2009 NZ PGA Championship | Round One | 05 Mar 2009
Kurt Barnes withstood several challenges from the afternoon field in the opening round of the New Zealand PGA Championship at the Clearwater Resort in Christchurch, but when the dust had settled his brilliant morning round of 8 under par 64 had stood the test of time on day one.
Barnes leads the co-sanctioned event at 8 under by one over Victorian Ryan Hammond after Hammond had briefly taken the lead at 9 under through 14 holes of his afternoon round. Hammond dropped shots at the 15th and 17th holes but he has made an impressive start especially given his recent play.
“It is funny,” said 25-year-old Hammond referring to his four consecutive missed cuts this season.
“I actually haven’t been playing all that badly. That’s the way golf is at times but I know it hasn’t been too far away and this is probably been more of what I have been expecting. I three putted 15 and then hit it in the fairway bunker on 17 so it was a disappointing way to finish but I am still pretty happy.”
Hammond finished off the 2008 season with several good finishes in Von Nida Tour events including when 4th behind Michael Long in the West Australian PGA Championship.
In a share of third place at 6 under are Americans Jason Enloe and David Branshaw.
New Zealander Gareth Paddison was another to seriously challenge Barnes, reaching 7 under before he fell victim to the water alongside the 18th and took double bogey. Still for Paddison it is a continuation of several good rounds in recent weeks and at 5 under he leads the local contingent by one over David Smail.
Most of the good scoring came from the morning field although Hammond (65), Brandshaw (66), Andre Stolz (67) and Scott Dunlap (67) were the exceptions.
Branshaw agonisingly missed out on one of the 2009 PGA Tour cards handed out to the top 25 players on the 2008 Nationwide Tour. He finished 26th and is back seeking a place on the PGA Tour for the fourth occasion.
Jason Enloe was one of the final few to finish in the morning group, the 35 year old home in 32 to make a good start in his bid to improve on his 9th place finish in this event last year.
Andre Stolz looks threatening. His round of 67 included a homeward nine of 32 and having finished runner up to Ryan Palmer the last time he played the event in 2003, he is on track to continue a run of form that saw him the winner of the recent Celebrations Victorian PGA Championship.
The cut at this stage appears as if it will fall at 2 under par.