01 March 2019: On a fine day at The Hills Arrowtown, Shiv Kapur and S Chikkarangappa pursued different routes to the same destination, reaching the halfway stage of the 100th New Zealand Open with a timely 69 in the second round. The former, playing the Millbrook course, posted two under 69 as he moved to 4-under through 36 holes. Chikka joined his senior compatriot with a 69 on The Hills course, both men lying at T27. Zach Murray, in a share of the lead at the first round, pulled five strokes clear at the top with a fluent 65. Murray is at 15-under 128 after going seven under on Friday.
Ryuko Tokimatsu shot a 69 to plant himself one stroke ahead of fellow Japanese golfer Kodai Ichihara, who made 68. In third place currently with Ichihara are Brad Kennedy (day’s low of 63), Dimitrios Papadatos (63), Harry Bateman (70) and Ryan Fox (66). All of them are at 9-under 134.
At three under is Ajeetesh Sandhu making an even 71 in the second round, lying at T44.
Three Indians missed the cut, which fell at 3-under 140. Rahil Gangjee and Khalin Joshi were on the wrong side of that line at -1 after they posted scores of 71 and 72 respectively. Scores of 73 and 74 were also not going to get the job done for Viraj Madappa this week.
Birdies at 10 & 17 helped Shiv Kapur navigate the forward stretch in just 34 strokes. A bogey at the second hole upended the smooth sailing Indian’s momentum but he bounced back with consecutive birdies at the fourth and fifth holes.
Shiv made another bogey, second of the round, at the 7th hole as he returned home in an even 35 strokes to complete his round of 69.
Chikka suffered a bogey at the 13th hole but he recovered with birdies at the 15th and 18th holes. The Bengaluru golfer would go on to add three more birdies punctuated by a bogey at the par-4 third hole.
Asian Tour Notes
- Zach Murray of Australia secured his 2019 Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School last December after finishing fourth in the 90-hole event.
- Murray won the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open (an event on the PGA Tour of Australasia) as an amateur golfer in October 2018. One month later, he made his professional debut at the Australian Open.
- Murray was ranked as high as 19th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
- Murray marked his lowest round yet as a professional with his opening 63 in what was only his third start on the Asian Tour.
- Murray hails from Victoria, Australia. He is in Queenstown this week for the first time.
- Ryuko Tokimatsu is the highest-ranked Japanese in the field this week. He sits in 127th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
- The 25-year-old Tokimatsu is a one-time winner on both the Japan Golf Tour and the Japan Challenge Tour.
- Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand enjoyed a tied-29th place finish in his New Zealand Open debut last year. He holds a total of six victories on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), where he was crowned the Order of Merit champion in 2014.
- The 29-year-old Thai claimed his Asian Tour breakthrough at the Macao Open in 2016.
- Poom Saksansin of Thailand made his first career ace on the second hole at Millbrook Resort with a nine-iron from 139 metres. His ace would be the third and last hole-in-one recorded during the second round of the New Zealand Open.
- Australian Damien Jordan had holed out on the same hole with his pitching wedge while Poom’s countryman, Natipong Srithong, also recorded his first career ace on the 16th hole at The Hills with a seven-iron from 174 metres.