Chris Downes leads by two at New Zealand Open

BY | Australasian PGA Tour | 2003 New Zealand Open | Round Three | 18 Jan 2003
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Overnight co-leader and Queenslander Chris Downes has fired a second round – 3(69) to move into the outright lead at the end of the close of the third round of the 2003 New Zealand Open. Downes, who turned 23 today, is followed closely by the New Zealand pair of Gareth Paddison and Mahal Pearce, who sit at -8 and two strokes off the pace.

Downes’ score today belies a rollercoaster round, which included three bogeys, four birdies and an eagle at the par 5 17th to take back the two dropped shots at the 15th and 16th holes. The young Queenslander will need to steady his game tomorrow with 10 players within five shots of the lead including 2002 Australasian PGA Rookie of the Year, Gareth Paddison, New Zealand’s top ranked player, Michael Campbell, recent winner on the Japan Tour, Brendan Jones and veteran Wayne Grady, who fired a -5 (67) to remain well within contention.

Victorian Alan Patterson, who had finished the second round with a share of the lead, fell away today with six bogeys and four birdies to close the third round at -5 and with a share of 7th place.

Two-time NZ Open winner, Michael Campbell enjoyed his golf much better today with the only blemish on a superb round coming with a double bogey at the par 4 5th. Campbell rattled off five birdies and an eagle to post a round of 67 and is just three strokes off the pace.

49-year-old Darrell Kestner, who turned professional in 1975 and is the head pro at Deepdale Golf Club on Long Island in New York, was the surprise package of the day as he quietly snuck into equal 5th alongside Wayne Grady. Kestner, whose only showing on the USPGA Tour last year was a berth at the US Open (where his missed the cut), has competed in eight U.S. Opens and nine PGA Championships in his career.

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