Tasman's Riordan leads field at Carrus

Last updated 13:07 29/09/2012

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Tasman amateur Blair Riordan has made the most of a favourable draw to pull four shots clear at the Carrus Open yesterday at the Tauranga Golf Club.

The Takaka golfer, who opened with a superb seven under par 63, carded a five under par 65 in the benign afternoon conditions of the second round to post a 12 under par two round total of 128 to lead at the halfway stage.

He is four ahead of Taupo professional Troy Ropiha (67) with former European Tour professional Mark Brown (71) a further three shots back in a four-way tie for third place.

The Srixon Academy member was part of the New Zealand team earlier this year which won the Sloan Morpeth Trophy and claimed the leading individual at the SBS Invitational. But to win on the Charles Tour would be something else.

“It was always going to be tough to back up that round from yesterday,” said the 22-year-old.

“I am stoked with the way I played today, particularly in the latter half of my round, to post five under today. It was awesome, a great feeling.”

Riordan would make history if he were to win at Tauranga, as he would become only the sixth amateur to win on the Charles Tour after Josh Geary, Troy Ropiha, Ben Campbell, Josh Munn and Fraser Wilkin.

“That would be awesome to win. It was one of my goals at the start of the year to win a Charles Tour event and now I am in a good position.

“I can't afford to sit on my lead at all. I will be looking to keep playing attacking golf.”

Riordan admitted it is a challenge to remain in the present.

“It is hard to not get ahead of myself because this is certainly a new position for me. I'll be working as hard as I can to finish it off.”

Meantime, Ropiha has also set his sights on joining an exclusive club in New Zealand Golf.

The 26-year-old, who won the Taranaki Open as both an amateur and a professional, wants to become only the fourth golfer to win three titles on the Charles Tour.

He put himself in a good position yesterday when he battled ferocious winds to card a three under par 67 to back up his five under par start to post a 132 eight under par total.

Mark Purser, Michael Hendry and Doug Holloway are the only three-time winners on the Charles Tour since it began in 2004 and Ropiha wants to join them.

“I wouldn't mind jumping up there with those guys and win a third Charles Tour title, that would mean a lot to me,” said the former New Zealand amateur rep.

Brown was disappointed with his one over par 71 that saw him slip off the hot pace set by Riordan.

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The men's cut was made at a five over par two round total of 145.

In the women's field, Bay of Plenty rep Grace Senior holds a one-shot lead from her provincial team-mate Heather Lavery after carding a three over par 75 in round two. Another Bay rep Susan Lines is a further shot back in third place.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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