Gates stays in front at NZ Open

24-year-old Robert Gates has the 36 hole lead at the Michael Hill New Zealand Open, his early morning second round of 67 taking him to a one shot lead over Queenslander Andrew Dodt with things remaining that way until the final putt of the day was holed more than six hours later.

Gates, from Texas, is playing in his very first Nationwide Tour event after a year on the Canadian Tour and is clearly a player of some promise. He built on his very impressive afternoon opening round of 65 by adding another six birdies today. His only blemish coming at his 17th hole when he flew the green with his approach and for one of the very few occasions in his opening 36 holes he was unable to get up and down.

Queenslander Dodt was also off in the morning field and he too would make progress on his fine start on day one. He added a round of 68 and at 11 under he is just one behind Gates' lead.

Dodt, who hails from the small town of Gatton, west of Brisbane, is emerging as one of Australia's better young prospects. Following two good seasons in Asia he could be in for a good weekend in this event.

American D.J. Brigman moved within striking distance of Gates when he put together an afternoon round of 69 to move to 9 under while at 8 under are Americans Darron Stiles and Kevin Chappell

The large group at 7 under include the leading New Zealander Phil Tataurangi.

A score of 2 under par or better was required to make the cut and Craig Parry, Peter Senior and Peter Lonard were the most significant of those to miss the weekend. Senior missed out on the opportunity to finish his regular Tour career in style before heading to the US Champions Tour this year.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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