Barnes drops into tie for New Zealand PGA lead

Barnes drops into tie for New Zealand PGA lead

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Australia’s Kurt Barnes dropped two strokes on his 17th hole Friday to fall into a three-way tie for the lead after the second round of the New Zealand PGA Championship.

The long-hitting Barnes, the first-round leader after a 64, finished with a 71 to match New Zealand left-hander Gareth Paddison (68) and American Josh Teater (68) at 9 under on the Bob Charles-designed Clearwater course.

Barnes took a two-stroke lead to the par-4 eighth, but hit his tee shot into the tall grass and was forced to take a penalty stroke because of an unplayable lie. His next shot plugged into the hazard that guards the right side of the green. Barnes then slashed it from the mud and onto the green, and two-putted for a 6.

“It’s not too bad. You always have to expect it,” Barnes said. “Those are the two worst shots I’ve hit all week, so it’s all right. To be honest, I hit the ball a lot cleaner today than I did yesterday. I hit more greens today and didn’t make any errors, so it’s looking good for tomorrow.”

Australia’s Peter O’Malley (67) and American Steve Friesen (67) were 8 under in the Australasian and Nationwide tour event. O’Malley won in 2002 and 2005.

Danny Lee, the New Zealand amateur who won Johnnie Walker Classic last month, was 6 under after a 67. The 18-year-old Lee, also the U.S. Amateur champion, plans to turn pro after the Masters. Born in South Korea, he moved to New Zealand at age 8.

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