Greg Turner of New Zealand plays a shot during day two of
the New Zealand Open Championship at Clearwater Golf
Course. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
Greg Turner has exceeded his own expectations this week
and even finds himself in with a chance of winning a third New
Zealand Open after two rounds at Clearwater.
The 49-year-old is playing his first Open since 2002 and his
first tournament of note in eight years, after he retired
from the game in 2004 to spend more time with his family.
But, the Central Otago right-hander has made a return to the
greens in a bid to join the European Senior Tour next year
when he turns 50 and he carded a one-under 71 today that left
him in a tie for 17th, four shots off the pace.
The leaderboard is congested at the pointy end - with
Australian Daniel Fox on top at three-under - and Turner's
experience should help him during the final two rounds in
"It would have been no surprise to me if I was six to eight
shots worse," Turner said after his round.
"It was alright, I played pretty decently. I felt better as
the round wore on which is nice because I was buggered
yesterday near the end. I just got tired. So I was really
trying to keep the energy levels [high] today.
"I think I ate more on the golf course today than I've eaten
ever on a golf course."
The former European Tour pro fired three birdies and two
bogeys around Clearwater as the afternoon players got the
better of the conditions as - against predictions - the wind
died down as the day wore on.
Turner's side of the draw also had easier scoring weather on
day one and the luck of the draw certainly fell in his
He said during his time off he only played once a month, but
had ramped up his preparation during the past month, with
"I did as much as you can without playing. What I've been
missing is that feeling of being in that competitive
situation and you can't replicate that. You can pretend when
you're out playing with guys at home, but it's not the same,"
"When the gun goes off, you go through a whole set of
emotions and feelings and you can't replicate that.
"It's not about not having nerves, it's about how you deal
with them. It was interesting trying to remember what to do."
Turner, who won the Open in 1989 and 1997, said on Wednesday
that he wanted to know more by the end of the week than he
knew at the start, so with that in mind, what had he learned
during his first two rounds?
"I've learned that there's still a wee bit of life left in
the old dog yet," he smiled.
If he can find a few birdies during the next two days there
might be a third Open crown in store for the old dog too.