High winds wreak havoc in Queenstown
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2007 New Zealand Open | Round One | 29 Nov 2007
The winds have whipped up at the Michael Hill New Zealand Open, leading to spoiled scorecards and players in the early rounds thanking their lucky stars.
When Englishman Matthew Woods signed for a four-under 68 just before noon, he registered a course record score but with players ahead of him on the leaderboard, it seemed the mark wouldn’t last long.
However, almost on the stroke of 12 o’clock, howling winds took their hold and made The Hills course a much different beast.
Woods suddenly found himself in a four-way tie for the lead as Australian Paul Marantz, once the leader at six-under, bogeyed both the 6th and 7th holes to drop back into the pack.
Countrymen Craig Parry and Paul Sheehan, also leaders at one stage, managed to make it into the safety of the clubhouse on four-under.
Both teed off the 10th hole and blitzed through the back nine in 32, but struggled to take charge on the front nine which Parry rated as the more difficult of the two halves.
The wind became such a factor that Parry admitted he was ‘happy to be in’ just as the conditions worsened, while Marantz would’ve been cursing the fact he did not tee off an hour earlier.
It would take a sublime round from the players teeing off in the afternoon to catch the leaders, something that will come as bad news to New Zealand favourite Michael Campbell, who teed off at 12:40pm and is already one-over through two holes.
A group of eight – Rodney Booth, Gary Simpson, Michael Sim, Michael Long, Peter Fowler, Marc Leishman and David Bransdon – all signed for 69s while Kim Felton has the tricky 18th to negotiate on the same score.
Tournament favourite Daniel Chopra was not at his best on Thursday but could’ve done a lot worse than his two-under 70, which included two symmetrical nines of 35 with four birdies and two bogeys.
He’s joined by left-handed Kiwi Gareth Paddison and five other players. The fact that only 38 of 120 golfers are under par as of the early afternoon action represents the fact that the course is presenting a tough challenge, and any player hoping to do so in the latter stages will have to produce a round of top quality.
At the bottom end of the leaderboard, Kiwis Ben Gallie and amateur Adam Church have a lot of grounds to make up at eight-over, as does Aussie Alistair Presnell who is last in the clubhouse with a nine-over 81.
Aussie Martin Doyle, who hit a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole, signed for a one-under 71 and found the going tough despite his perfect shot. Four bogies countered his ace and three further birdies saw him finish in a tie for 20th.
Source – PGA Tour