Friday, December 02, 2011


Banchory's James Byrne shot a two-under-par 70 in the second round to make the cut in the BMW New Zealand Open at Clearwater Golf Club, Christchurch. Five over par was the cut-off mark after 36 holes and the Walker Cup player cum rookie pro had a four-over-tally of 148 which placed him joint 49th.
Six over par after an opening 78, Byrne slipped to seven over when he bogeyed the second but then he got in the mood to beat the odds by birdieing the third, short fourth and fifth. A fourth birdie at the short 11th improved his overall position to only three over par and he was able to par in until finishing with a bogey for a 70.
So in his second round, James boosted his number of birdies from two to four compared with the first day and reduced his bogeys from six to twO.

Tauranga professional Josh Geary ground out an impressive four under par 68 in the blustery nor’ easterly wind to jump into a share of the lead at the BMW New Zealand Open after two rounds.
The 27-year-old, who was the leading kiwi at the 2010 New Zealand Open at The Hills, made six birdies and two bogeys to join 2002 champion Craig Parry and overnight joint leader Brad Kennedy in the clubhouse on five under par at the Clearwater Golf Club.
Geary, along with Doug Holloway only one shot back and Mahal Pearce four shots back, has the chance in Christchurch to end the eight year drought of a home champion at the BMW New Zealand Open.
The Nationwide Tour player made a crucial birdie on the 17th hole to get back to five under and was happy with his round that has him in contention heading into the weekend.
“I got off to a good start - I was four-under through six,” he said.
“It was nice and calm and I thought it was going to be a nice day but it started blowing a bit and it got harder and harder. Some of those holes into the wind you had to grind it out to make par.
“It was pretty solid today. I was good off the tees, I hit some good iron shots and I putted good. It showed some good signs.”
Geary has a good record at the Clearwater Golf Club – he finished second here in 2009 in the New Zealand PGA Championship – and believes the course suits his eye.
“To be honest the first few times I played it I wasn’t a huge fan. I liked it but it wasn’t one of my favourites. I don’t know what it is but I have played well here. I am starting to like it more and more I guess.”
The 2002 winner Parry, who is known as “Popeye” for his massive forearms, came home in style, birdieing the final three holes to jump into a share of the lead.
“The only advantage I have over a lot of the other guys is that I have already won a New Zealand Open so the pressure is on them,” said the 45-year-old.
“I really haven’t played much this year so my expectations aren’t as great as what everyone else is. I am just happy to be playing well.
“Any time you get within contention of a national open you get excited and it’s fantastic. I have always loved coming and playing in New Zealand anyway and so to have a chance of getting another one is great.”
Kennedy, who was the joint overnight leader with Jim Cusdin, backed up his four under 68 with a one under 71 this afternoon in Christchurch. He rued a bogey on the 18th that saw him lose the outright lead.
Holloway was also disappointed with bogeying his final hole of the day – the par 3 9th – but overall satisfied with his one under 71 in the wind. He has nothing but respect for his experienced rivals ahead of him. But he feels like he is not a young gun anymore.
“Compared to most of the young guys I am getting quite old too,” joked the 28-year-old.
“Craig Parry is obviously a phenomenal player and Brad is a good player too.”
“Their experience is going to help. I have had some experience but not at this level this close to the lead.
“My focus does not change a lot really. I’ll just keep chipping away, playing like I’ve been playing and hopefully come Sunday I will have a chance. I will just try and do my thing and hopefully get close.”
Waikato professional Cusdin had a day he’d rather forget as he undid all of the good work from his four under 68 in round one with a five over 77 in the benign morning conditions.
The 2003 champion Pearce, who is the last Kiwi to win the event, made a costly double bogey at the 18th that saw him drop back to one under par.
A trio of Aussies, led by amateur Jake Higginbottom, took advantage of the still conditions in the morning when he carded a four under par 68 to get to four under and the lead at that stage.
“The conditions were perfect for scoring,” said the 18-year-old from Sydney.
“You couldn’t get much better especially compared with yesterday when it was pretty tough.
“You could play normal shots today rather than controlled shots with the conditions. I could read the greens a little bit better today. We definitely fed off each other. Terry [Pilkadaris] holed a few putts early and you get a bit of momentum if everyone is playing good in the group.”
Pilkadaris signed for a four under 68 to get into a share of ninth and Crawford had a 69 to be one shot further back.
At the other end of the leaderboard there were a number of high profile players who were relieved to make the weekend cut mark of five over par.
Phil Tataurangi, who was the second highest Kiwi at the last New Zealand Open, snuck inside the mark as did New Zealand’s leading amateur Ryan Fox who birdied the last.
Highly rated Aussie professionals Ryan Heller, Adam Bland, Scott Arnold, who is a former World Number One amateur, and former champion Terry Price are all on their way home.
The 2000 New Zealand Open champion Michael Campbell struggled again today in the wind and carded rounds of 77 and 79 for a disappointing 12 over par total.




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