Parry shares three-way lead at NZ Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2007 New Zealand Open | Round One | 29 Nov 2007
Australian Craig Parry was accurate with his lunchtime prediction after he had finished his first round in the Michael Hill New Zealand Open today.
Asked if he thought any of the afternoon field could match 68 in the wind – that score gave Parry the lead with countryman Paul Sheehan and Englishman Matthew Woods – Parry replied: “If anyone comes in better they wouldn’t have played all 18 holes.”
And nobody could not match that score as the strong wind which hit shortly before midday continued for the rest of the day, drying the greens and making it difficult for players to hold their approaches on the greens.
Parry had completed most of his first round before the light breeze turned into a gusting westerly and he was smiling as he signed for a four-under 68 on The Hills course near Queenstown.
Organisers were delighted that the crowd of 7300 was the best first-day crowds in recent memory.
In the morning, half the field finished par or better – 28 bettering the par of 72 and 11 matching it. In the afternoon, Australian Steve Bowditch and newly turned Wellington professional Brenden Stuart did best, finishing with three under 69s. They were one of only nine players to beat par with a further three equalling it.
Sitting in fourth equal place just one off the pace along with Bowditch and Stuart were Australians Rodney Booth, Gary Simpson, Michael Sim, Peter Fowler, Marc Leishman, David Bransdon and Paul Marantz (who at one stage led at six under) along with New Zealander Michael Long.
Parry said conditions became so much harder once the wind increased in intensity and started playing havoc with shots – even putts on the green.
Sheehan, winner of the Jacob’s Creek Open in Adelaide last year, also made the most of the favourable morning conditions with six birdies and bogeys on two of his last three holes when the wind intensified.
Unknown Englishman, Woods, was first off at 7am and had five birdies and just the one bogey at the par-3 fourth. Woods, having just qualified for the European Challenge Tour, had an inauspicious debut Down Under, firing 75 and 77 in last week’s Mastercard Masters in Melbourne and ending eight-over and tied for 138th.
Parry, the 2002 New Zealand Open champion, had five birdies in the first 10 holes, but the birdies putts failed to drop on the homeward half and he had his only bogey at the 16th, the result of a three-putt.
The best of the New Zealand 33-strong contingent were experienced United States tour regular Long and rookie Stuart. Long was one of those to enjoy the morning conditions. The highlight of his round was at the first hole (his 10th), a par-5 of 475m which he eagled after a straight drive for the first time in three attempts on the hole, a No. 7 iron and a 2m putt.
“I wasn’t really doing much until that eagle but after that I was three-under and right in the hunt.”
He got to five-under after 15, but dropped shots at 16 and 18.
New Zealand’s leading professional Michael Campbell did remarkably well to hold his round together after getting the worst of the weather. He birdied the 13th to be two-under, but dropped three shots on the last five holes.
He was not disheartened, however, saying he was only five shots off the lead and hoping to make inroads with an early start tomorrow.
“I hit a lot of good shots and hit a lot of them close. I want to keep positive over the next three days. I tried for an even par today and knew that was a good score.”
Source – NZGA