Golf: Brown leads at NZ Open

Kiwi golfer Mark Brown is leading the charge at the New Zealand Open at a sun-drenched Clearwater today.

Brown, who began the day at one-over the card, is six-under on his round through 12 holes after making six birdies and holds a two-shot lead over round two leader Daniel Fox and Kiwi Peter Spearman-Burn.

Brown, a former European Tour professional who finished in a tie for third at last week's Australian Masters, is at five-under for the tournament.

Michael Hendry was only one back from Brown after 12 holes but double-bogeyed the 13th to drop two strokes and is back in a share of fourth, alongside Australian Michael Wright.

Spearman-Burn is three-under for the day through 10 holes and drained a monster putt on the tricky par-three ninth for a memorable birdie.

The Wellington right-hander has been solid all week with rounds of 73 and 71 and has slipped under the radar at Clearwater.

Conditions have improved greatly from day one and only a light breeze greets the players on course this afternoon and there's potential for some low scoring, which has been absent from the tournament so far.

Other Kiwis in the mix include Gareth Paddison, who is one-over for the day and is at even par alongside Brad Shilton.

Mahal Pearce, who was the last Kiwi to win the event, dropped a shot during his first 11 holes and is one-over the card in a share of 16th, where rookie professionals Ryan Fox and Mathew Perry also sit.

Former PGA Tour player Phil Tataurangi fired a three-under 69 after teeing off earlier in the day and improved to two-over for the tournament but would need a blistering fourth round to figure in the final standings.


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