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.


Position Score Player Country R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1   ↑T2 -15 Steven Alker New Zealand 69 70 67 67 273
T2   ↑T4 -13 David Smail New Zealand 68 71 68 68 275
T2   ↑T9 -13 Josh Geary New Zealand 72 65 71 67 275
T4   ↑T14 -12 Henrik Bjornstad Norway 71 70 68 67 276
T4   ↑T14 -12 Michael Sim Australia 71 66 72 67 276
T4 -12 Ryan Hietala United States 71 67 69 69 276
T7   ↓T4 -11 Danny Lee New Zealand 71 67 69 70 277
T7   ↑T14 -11 Gavin Coles Australia 70 68 71 68 277
T7   ↑T9 -11 Jason Norris Australia 73 65 70 69 277
T7   ↑T22 -11 Josh Teater United States 67 68 75 67 277
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Position Score Player Country R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

    Read all of Bruce's articles »

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