QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand (AP)—American Robert Gates , New Zealand’s David Smail and Australia’s Andrew Dodt shot 7-under 65s on Thursday to share thefirst-round lead in the Nationwide Tour’s season-opening New Zealand Open.
American D.J. Brigman and Australia’s Andrew Bonhomme opened with 66s at TheHills in the tournament also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Smail, the 2001 winner at The Grange, had only 27 putts in his bogey-freeround. Gates, the 6-foot-6 former Texas A&M player who spent last season on theCanadian Tour, had an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys. Dodt birdied thefinal four holes.
Brigman warmed up for the tournament by going hang gliding.
“I went hang-gliding yesterday hoping that would free me and up and take abit of fear out of me,” Brigman said. “I putted fearlessly today, rolled itextremely well and made a ton of putts.”
American Jason Gore started with two bogeys and a double bogey, butrecovered with six birdies on the back nine to finish at 70.