Birdies aplenty in NZ Open

BY NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 15:20 12/03/2009

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Calm, crisp conditions have seen plenty of scores under par during the opening round of the New Zealand Open at Arrowtown.

Nationwide Tour players Josh Teater and Tom Demsey have an early share of the lead after carding seven under par 65s.

Teater was on track to challenge the course record of 62 after a blistering back nine which included six birdies, but he blotted his round with a double bogey on the 18th when he went from one bunker to another one and then ran his approach through the green.

His United States compatriot Demsey shot eight birdies, including three in the first five holes, for a seven-under 65.

''I was surpised that I was able to score out there. When the wind blows it's a tough course,'' Demsey said.

''I just played real steady and made a couple of putts - missed a few opportunities, but made a couple too so I was pretty happy with the way I played.''

New Zealand PGA champion Steve Alker was the tournament's leading New Zealander after carding a four under 68, while Wellington's Thomas Spearman-Burn was the leading amateur after carding a two under 70 in a tie for 27th place.

Danny Lee was in a share of 42nd place, one under par, while Sir Bob Charles carded a one-over 73 for a share of 71st place.

A steadily increasing breeze is expected to make for more difficult conditions for the afternoon groups.

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