Harry Bateman has stolen the headlines with a heroic closing nine of 29 to hold a five-shot lead at the John Jones Steel Harewood Open after two rounds.
In the first event of the Jennian Homes Charles Tour season, Bateman showed no rust with a clinical finish to his round of seven-under 65 at the Harewood Golf Club.
The Muriwai professional is yet to win on this circuit, but has claimed a number of runner-up finishes.
“It was pretty awesome out there today, I have never had 29 before so that was pretty pleasing,” said Bateman.
“I had no idea what my score was and assumed I would have to make birdie on the last. But after adding it up correctly, it was nice to see the number 29.”
The 26-year-old also made two scintillating eagles, one of which was on the par-4 fifth.
“I chipped in from about 20 metres for one, then had 106 for my second and somehow popped it in,” grinned the overnight leader.
“It was certainly a game of two halves after battling through my opening nine (started on 10) to then come home so strong, so I am looking forward to the weekend.”
Defending champion Brad Shilton and Jennian Homes Trophy winner Gareth Paddison are tied for second at five-under with David Smail and Richard Lee a further shot back.
Paddison had a unique round of three-under 69 that included a disastrous quadruple bogey on his eighth hole of the day. He also managed eight birdies in a freakish round that would have seen him just one behind Bateman if not for the quad.
Chantelle Cassidy continued her dominance at the Harewood Golf Club with her second consecutive round of two-under 70, which gives her a three-shot lead over Canterbury’s best, Amelia Garvey.
Two-time Harewood Open champion Cassidy couldn’t pinpoint why she continues to impress here in the Garden City, but is happy with how things are tracking.
“It’s such a nice golf course here at Harewood, but I just can’t describe why I seem to play well here. The putts just seem to be dropping,” said Cassidy.
“After playing the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open last week it feels like everything is tracking in the right direction.”
Garvey shot a three-under 69 to bounce back into contention. Rose Zheng is a further seven shots behind in outright third..
Saturday’s tee times kick off from 8:30am with a two-tee start.