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Kennedy grabs NZ Open lead

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/03/2017

Australian golfer Brad Kennedy has hit the front at the halfway mark of the New Zealand Open in Queenstown with a stellar second round at Millbrook Resort.

Kennedy, the 2011 champion, backed up his opening round 65 at The Hills in firing nine-under 62, finishing with a flurry in sinking six birdies in his closing seven holes on Friday.

His only blemish came with a bogey at the par-five sixth as he charged past overnight leader Ben Campbell to grab a one-shot lead.

"It was awesome, it's nice to play like that. I had a good rhythm going into the back nine, coming through 15 to 18, I had some nice full numbers," Kennedy said.

"The greens are just pure here so they are great to putt on."

Kennedy plans to keep an attacking mentality going into the final two rounds, which will be held at the more challenging Millbrook course.

"It doesn't matter where I am, I just have to stay aggressive. Anytime you try and be conservative, a course like this will come and get you.

"I think it will be a different story on the weekend. Hopefully the wind gets up, I like playing in the wind, it would make it a bit more difficult and pin positions will be tough."

Campbell, who finished second in last week's NZPGA Championship in Palmerston North, mixed seven birdies with two bogeys at The Hills for a five-under 67 on Friday.

On Thursday, the 25-year-old Masterton-born golfer had bagged an eagle and two birdies in the final three holes at Millbrook to secure a course record 10-under-par 61.

He sits second, two shots clear of fellow Kiwi Michael Hendry, who fired back-to-back rounds of 65 to head 2014 champion Dimitrios Papadatos (Australia), compatriot Deyen Lawson and Korean Sung-Jae Im by one stroke.

Campbell finished the day relatively happy with his solid five-under.

"I holed two or three putts outside 10, 15 feet which kept the momentum going. I didn't quite hit the ball as good as yesterday, but it's always tough backing up a good round like that."

He's looking forward to attacking the final two rounds on the more familiar fairways of Millbrook Resort.

"You can't protect a lead," Campbell said.

"You've just got to keep attacking and make sure you are looking forward and not looking back."

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