Golf blog: Fox snares an eagle at The Hills

Former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming on the putting green at The Hills.
Former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming on the putting green at The Hills.

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday at The Hills was, well, a little flat. 

It was Friday, and it was bitterly cold, so the atmosphere in the second round of the New Zealand Open was muted and the crowd sparse.

Today is very different.

A chilly start has made way for a glorious . . . sure, that may be stretching it a little. But the sun is out, and it is really rather lovely when the breeze takes a break.

Thousands of fans are flooding into Sir Michael's back yard and there is a genuinely positive vibe about the place.

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox must have picked up on that because he started his third round with a bang.

Finding the trees on the left of the first fairway, Fox played an extraordinary shot to within a foot or two of the hole, and made the eagle putt.

Overnight co-leader Richard Lee started with a birdie but then gave the shot straight back with a bogey on the second hole.

The big mover has been Australian professional Aaron Townsend, who is 5-under through 10 holes today, and is now two shots off the lead.

There was a real sense of deflation at the course this morning when news emerged of a withdrawal.

American star Rocco Mediate, who had missed the Open cut but was supposed to be playing with pro-am partner Mark Richardson, pulled out, reportedly due to injury.

It will be interesting to see if he scrubs up all right tomorrow to play with Prime Minister John Key and the great Sir Bob Charles.