QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand (AP) — Craig Parry shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the New Zealand Open with Australian countryman Paul Sheehan and England’s Matthew Woods.
Parry, the 2002 champion and a two-winner on the U.S. PGA Tour, had five birdies and a bogey on The Hills Golf Club course. He played in the morning before windy afternoon conditions made scoring difficult.
“It’s a course that when it isn’t blowing, you can go out and shoot a low number,” Parry said. “If the wind blows like it normally would, par’s a very good round. We had great conditions out there earlier. The greens were reasonably receptive, the putting surfaces were very good and I played really well.”
Former champions, Peter Fowler of Australia and Michael Long of New Zealand were in a large group at 69. Sweden’s Daniel Chopra, coming off a playoff loss to Aaron Baddeley last week in the Australian Masters, opened with a 70.
New Zealand star Michael Campbell shot a 73.
The tournament, sanctioned by the Australasian and European tours, has drawn only 32 European players.
The newly developed course, hosting a major tournament for the first time, was built and is privately owned by New Zealand jewelry magnate Michael Hill, the tournament sponsor.