Trio lead at New Zealand PGA
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2009 NZ PGA Championship | Round Two | 06 Mar 2009
Against all predictions, day two of the New Zealand PGA Championship provided almost perfect scoring conditions throughout and the field of Australasian and Nationwide Tour players were not about to let the opportunity slip.
The weather had been predicted to turn nasty on day two but it was not to be and the early coolish but calm conditions turned into warm and almost humid temperatures, the lack of wind ensuring scoring was good for much of the day.
At the completion of day two a massive 24 players are within three shots of the lead held by Josh Teater, Gareth Paddison and first round leader Kurt Barnes. The trio share the lead at 9 under, one ahead of American Steve Friesen and two time Clearwater winner Peter O’Malley at 8 under.
Paddison took the second round lead when he produced a round of 68 in the morning field and at 9 under he held the outright lead before Teater and Barnes joined him later in the day. Teater and Barnes actually established a break late in the day but a bogey at the 17th hole by Teater and a double bogey at the 8th (his 17th) by Barnes cost them the 36 hole lead.
Teater, who was attempting the USPGA Tour School for the seventh time last year, dropped seven shots in his last four holes to miss his Tour Card last December but was philosophical enough to know that at least he had exempt Nationwide Tour status for the first time.
O’Malley looked particularly impressive playing a golf course on which he has fond memories. In his first visit to Clearwater in2002 he won by five shots and then defeated Steve Bowditch in 2005 in a four hole playoff. O’Malley’s game was so impressive he left New Zealand star and playing partner Danny Lee in awe.
“I have never seen such good ball striking,” said Lee.
Friesen is a 32-year-old American who has played the Canadian Tour in recent years and has been a regular winner of events on mini tours in the USA.
Lee worked his way back into the tournament with a round of 67 to be at 6 under and within striking distance. His round was highlighted by a pitch in for eagle at the par five 2nd.
“I actually played okay yesterday as well but made a slow start and then came back in the middle of the round but today I had lots of birdie chances,” said the 18-year-old after the round.
“Last week was a very tough week. I don’t want to blame anything but I wasn’t ready to play last week. I was pretty busy Monday and Tuesday and my only practice day was Wednesday and on that golf course which is a hard golf course I wasn’t really ready.”
He is enjoying the support of New Zealand fans who are getting behind his every move.
“It is funny as when Ryan or Peter (his playing partners Peter O’Malley and Ryan Armour) holed a putt the people would clap but when I holed a putt they would go crazy.”
A big round tomorrow is what tournament organisers are hoping for as there will be many now keen to witness the youngster in action at the pointy end of a tournament.
The chances are many as the New Zealand PGA Championship enters round three.