Mark Brown. Photo by Getty
Moving day lived up to it's name on day three of the New
Zealand golf open at Clearwater today as Mark Brown fired a
six-under 66 - the joint-best round of the day - to give him
a three-stroke leader over Australians Peter Wilson and Jake
It was the front nine where Brown produced his best work as
he delivered five birdies and took advantage of the still
conditions in Christchurch.
The weather has favoured a select group of players throughout
the tournament and Brown is one of those golfers. The breeze
got up as he played the back nine but he was still good
enough to bogey only the 17th down the stretch.
Brown is bidding to become the first New Zealander to win the
New Zealand Open since Mahal Pearce etched his name on the
trophy at Middlemore in 2003.
There are a host of Australians chasing Brown, while
Wellingtonian Peter Spearman-Burn looked like he would make a
run at Brown today before a double bogey on 18 saw him sign
for an even-par 72.
Spearman-Burn is in a group of players in a tie for eighth on
even par and could be heading for his biggest career payday.
Michael Hendry's mixed back nine caused him to slide down the
leaderboard as one of the pre-tournament favourites lodged
three birdies, two bogeys and two double bogeys.
At one point this afternoon, Hendry held the outright lead of
the tournament as the Aucklander birdied three of the first
eight holes but he eventually signed for a two-under 70 to be
four shots behind Brown in a tie for fourth with veteran
Australian Peter O'Malley.
Australian Jason Norris equalled Brown's round of 66 but his
six-under score only erased the shots he had dropped during
his first two rounds and he is also in the group of players
at even par.
Of the other Kiwi hopefuls, Richard Lee fired a two-under 70
to be at even par for the week and Brad Shilton is tied for
14th at one-over.
Pearce shot a frustrating two-over 74 to be in a share of
21st at two-over the card, alongside Phil Tataurangi, who
signed for a 69 - his best round of the week - and Ryan Fox.
Gareth Paddison and Mathew Perry both shot 75s to drop back
to two-over for the tournament with Pearce, Fox and
Tasmania's Clint Rice provided the shot of the day when he
aced the par-three ninth hole with a six iron from 177m - it
was the fourth hole in one on the Australasian PGA Tour this