QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand (AP) American Robert Gates shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the Nationwide Tour's season-opening New Zealand Open.
Gates, the 6-foot-6 former Texas A&M player making his Nationwide Tour debut, had a 16-under 200 total in the event also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.
After birdieing Nos. 1 and 7 in a front-nine 34 at The Hills, Gates dropped a shot on the par-4 11th, then reeled off four straight birdies. He parred 16 and 17 and lost another shot with a bogey on the par-4 18th.
Australia's Andrew Dodt was 13 under after a 70, and countrymen Michael Curtain (68) was five strokes back at 11 under. American Kevin Chappell (71) and Australians Mark Hensby (66) and Matthew Griffin (70) were 9 under.