Paddison takes lead at NZPGA
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2009 NZ PGA Championship | Round Two | 06 Mar 2009
New Zealander Gareth Paddison leads at the halfway point on day two of the New Zealand PGA Championship at Clearwater in Christchurch and although his round might well have been several better it was clear when he spoke after his round that he was happy with his position.
Paddison recorded a second round of 68 to go with his opening round of 67 and at 9 under he leads after the morning field had completed their rounds by one over overnight leader, Kurt Barnes, who had still to tee off and American Steve Friesen.
“I played really solid today after the bogey at the 1st but I played incredibly steady from there and even though I missed a couple of short putts I can’t complain about what I have just done,” said Paddison after his round. “I have never been in this room before,” he added referring to the lack of times he has had to front the media in his professional career.
After a double bogey at his final hole in yesterday’s opening round and a bogey at the par five 10th (his 1st hole today), Paddison was angry with himself but he gathered his thoughts and created plenty of chances over the remaining 17 holes. He missed good opportunities at the par five 2nd and at the 8th where he misread a putt from 3 feet but he was buoyed by a good 6 foot par save at his final hole.
Paddison has for long been considered one of the most talented players in New Zealand professional golf but has not as yet fulfilled that promise. He won the Canadian Amateur Championship and made the cut in the Canadian Open as an amateur but although he has played the European Tour in 2008 he has generally struggled as a professional.
He has created an opportunity for a good finish in this event to carry him into the Nationwide Tour and avoid having to return to the less attractive European Challenge Tour. “Definitely the Nationwide Tour would be a lot more inviting for me. You can get a category on the Nationwide Tour if you earn enough pior to the re-rank to get to the Nationwide Tour even if you don’t win.”
Paddison has been playing well for several weeks now, the result of a concerted practice regime over Xmas and spending time with his friend and part time coach Kevin Smith. “He has been a good sounding board and although he is not trying to change the work that Jason Floyd, my European coach, it has been good to have him to bounce things off. I have known Kevin since I was 17-years-old so he has seen the change in my game and is somebody I can trust to give me a honest opinion.”
Friesen is playing the Nationwide Tour for the first time. This is my first time over her, the first time on this tour, the first time seeing the courses and a lot of first generally but I love it over here."
The group at 7 under at the completion of the morning field and sharing 4th were Americans David Branshaw, Michael Sim and Kevin Johnson, Australians Michael Sim and Matthew Griffin and New Zealander Josh Geary.
Sim continues the fine form he has displayed in recent weeks with top ten finishes at the Johnnie Walker and the Moonah Classic. Playing pain free now after back injury had threatened to derail his career, Sim is fulfilling the immense promise he displayed as an amateur when he reached the coveted position of world number one.
“I have worked hard on improving my posture in my swing and it is feeling great now,” said the West Australian.
“I got off to a bad start yesterday and was a couple over early but made four birdies coming in and today I made putts early and made progress from there. I’m excited about the weekend.”
Matt Griffin continues a stellar start to his professional career with good finishes at the WA PGA and NSW Open in late 2008 Von Nida Tour events and the securing of his Asian Tour card.
Geary has recently earned a start at the British Open at Turnberry via International Final Qualifying and is a player of far greater promise than his limited efforts in the professional ranks, mainly in Canada, have suggested. His round of 65 was the equal best of the morning along with Australia’s Jason Norris who moved to 6 under with his round of 65.
The weather conditions have remained calm and overcast and the halfway cut appears as if it will fall at 2 under.