Nick Dougherty heads a strong European challenge at Blue Chip New Zealand Open after the second round. He is tied for the lead with Australia’s Wade Ormsby, with home favourite and 2005 US Open Champion Michael Campbell moving into third place, much to the delight of the home crowds at the Gulf Harbour Country Club.
While Campbell and Dougherty where rightly lauded for their excellent respective second day scores of 65 and 66, it was Ormsby who took most of the plaudits at Gulf Harbour for his stunning eight under par 63 which took him from a share of 45th place after his first round 72 into the joint lead.
The 26 year old Ormsby set the course alight in the afternoon with some splendid putting as he notched nine birdies en route to is 63, including a wonderful closing birdie on the 18th hole, where he drained a a20 foot birdie putt to pull hiself level with Dougherty going into the weekend action.
“That It was a nice putt to finish with,” said Ormsby. “I played pretty good in the first round but I didn't hole many putts. I did some work on my putting and they started flowing in today.”
Campbell’s second round effort included five birdies and an eagle, but he left the course rueing the fact that he should have joined Dougherty and Ormsby at top of the leaderboard.
Having drawn level with the leaders after 17 holes, Campbell pushed his putt wide on the 18th green to drop a shot and finish the day in third place. Despite that clearly disappointing finish, Campbell remained upbeat.
He said: “I think, gauging on yesterday's performance, I was pretty close to shooting well. It was a great round and it is nice to get myself into contention for the weekend.”
Dougherty, meanwhile, believes there is still room for improvement in his game.
He said: “I have got a little bit of work to do on my swing, but all in all I played well. I have played nicely the last couple of days but I certainly wouldn't say I'm playing my best."
Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and the English pair of Andrew Raitt and Shaun Webster are the next best Europeans in the field in a tie for fifth place on four under par, with England's James Heath and Denny Lucas on three under.