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Aust golfer Murray surges clear at NZ Open

Victorian rookie professional golfer Zach Murray has unleashed another sizzling round at the New Zealand Open to sit five strokes clear at the midway point.

Aust golfer Murray surges clear at NZ Open

Victorian rookie professional golfer Zach Murray has unleashed another sizzling round at the New Zealand Open to sit five strokes clear at the midway point.

ZACH MURRAY of Australia in action during the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.
ZACH MURRAY of Australia in action during the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. Picture:Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Australian golfer Zach Murray has been unperturbed by a change of course and contrasting conditions, opening up a five-stroke lead at the midway point of the New Zealand Open near Queenstown.

Murray signed off on a seven-under-par 63 on Friday at The Hills course, complementing his sizzling eight-under 63 a day earlier in chilly morning conditions at the Millbrook Resort.


The 21-year-old Victorian has been a cut above his rivals at the 100th edition of the $1.2 million tournament.

Beginning the day in a three-way share of the lead, he opened with an eagle on the par-5 first hole, before sinking six birdies and signing for his first bogey of the tournament.

Murray, having won October's WA Open in one of his last tournaments as an amateur, has breathing space but there is quality in the group behind him.

Second-placed Ryuko Tokimatsu, level overnight with Murray and Kiwi Harry Bateman, is a three-time winner on the Japan Tour.

Tokimatsu is second on 10 under, while tournament favourite Ryan Fox of New Zealand is among five golfers a further shot back.

Level with Fox are two Australians seeking to become the first two-time winners of the tournament in more than 20 years.

Queenslander Brad Kennedy, the 2011 champion, shot the round of the day with an eight-under 63 at Milbrook, while 2014 winner Dimitrios Papadatos battled wrist pain to record 66 at the same course.

Kennedy credited his improved short game for the sort of form that took him to within a shot of victory at last month's Vic Open.

"A little bit scrappy with my driver, but I putted brilliantly today," he said.

"I gave myself a talking to last night, said it wasn't good enough and, if I wanted to get myself back in contention, I had to do something."

Another Australian to make a big move was PGA Tour veteran Geoff Ogilvy, whose six-under 65 at Millbrook left him in a share of 22nd.

Kiwi great Michael Campbell - like Ogilvy a former US Open champion - missed the cut by five shots after finishing two over in his first tournament appearance for six years.

Defending champion Daniel Nisbet also won't the play the weekend, the Queenslander finishing one under.

AAP


AAP




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