Bowditch goes low to lead NZ Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2007 New Zealand Open | Round Two | 30 Nov 2007
A brilliant birdie spurt on the back nine has given Queenslander Steven Bowditch a one-shot lead after 36 holes of the Michael Hill New Zealand Open at The Hills course, near Queenstown.
After an uneventful start, a birdie at the first hole being cancelled by a bogey at the eighth, Bowditch holed a 6m birdie putt at the ninth and that was the catalyst for an incredible birdie run.
He birdied seven holes of eight to go seven-under and safely parred 17 and 18 to finish with a course record of 65, a score matched by another morning starter in Englishman Richard Finch.
Bowditch, who was just as pleased with his first round 69, which was achieved in the turbulent afternoon conditions, was at 10-under par at the halfway point of the NZD$1.5 million championship on the privately owned 6610m course.
Leading the chase a stroke back was fellow New South Welshman Paul Sheehan, one of the overnight leaders, who backed up his first round 68 with 67.
And alone in third place was the best of the New Zealanders, Michael Long, who had a flawless five-under 67, five birdies, no bogeys, and with three of his birdies coming on the last four holes.
Long said he had a good touch to his putting and recovered superbly on the few times he hit a bad drive or approach.
Unlike the first day, when a gusting sou’wester took a heavy toll on the afternoon field, conditions stayed near perfect for the second round which attracted another outstanding attendance of 7441.
Seventy-five players, including two amateurs, New Zealanders Danny Lee and Nick Gillespie, made the cut which was at one-over par 145.
Bowditch finished fourth on the Nationwide Tour in 2005 and earned his card for the 2006 United States PGA tour, but he admitted having “two terrible years in the United States.”
He said he felt his game was coming right and with the greens being watered overnight to soften the bounce, he was able attack the pins with short irons because of his long-hitting from the tee. His 6m putt at the ninth was the longest of his eight birdies.
Whereas 2005 United States Open champion Michael Campbell had a wretched day with his driver – an out of bounds tee shot resulting in a triple bogey at the 18th (his ninth hole) and ensuring he missed the cut – New Zealand’s other Major winner, Sir Bob Charles, delighted his fans by firing a four-under 68 and beating his age by three shots.
Charles comfortably made the cut in the 100th anniversary of the Open and attributed his sensational score to his putter. He had 25 putts as opposed to 31 on the first day when he had 75.
Source – NZGA