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American Gates leads Nationwide event Down Under

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Nationwide TourQUEENSTOWN, New Zealand – American Robert Gates shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Australia’s Andrew Dodt after the second round of 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 12-under 132 total at The Hills. Dodt shot a 68.

“I’m playing well, hit a lot of great shots and made some good putts,” said Gates, who spent last season on the Canadian Tour. “There are no real weaknesses right now and while I hit a few bad irons I managed to get up and down. I still need to capitalize on some opportunities on some of the easier holes.”

American D.J. Brigman (69) was three strokes back at 9 under, and countrymen Kevin Chappell (66) and Darron Stiles (69) were 8 under in the tournament also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia. New Zealand’s David Smail, tied with Gates and Dodt for the first-round lead after a 65 on Thursday, was 5 under after a 74.