OHair Villegas tied for Kiwi lead


Sean O’Hair and Camilo Villegas were 2 under par through 15 holes Wednesday to share the first-round lead in the Kiwi Challenge at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Play was halted on the 16th hole due to high winds that reached gusts of more than 50 miles per hour. Last year’s runner-up Anthony Kim stands at 1 over par and defending champion Hunter Mahan is 3 over.

“It got crazy out there,” Villegas said. “It was so beautiful; so calm at the beginning. Then, when we got to the 10th, it started blowing. Sean even lost his cap into the ocean standing on the 16th tee. I didn’t really want to hit my drive at that point. I like the wind, but when it gets unfair it’s no good.”

The first round is scheduled to resume again Thursday morning, then will be followed by the final round.

Villegas birdied the 14th hole to take the lead alone at 2 under, but O’Hair caught him with a birdie on the long downwind par-5. After a 380-yard drive, O’Hair hit 5-iron to the 650-yard hole, then made an 8-footer for birdie.
“My stroke is really good,” O’Hair said. “I saw my lines nicely today and my speed control was good.”

O’Hair and Villegas each made four birdies and two bogeys over the par 71, 7,187-yard layout, but O’Hair cashed in with the longer putts, making three of his four birdies from 20 feet or more.

Mahan started with birdies on the first two holes, but fell back with four bogeys in a seven-hole stretch midway through the round. Kim fell off the pace on the par-5 fourth after hitting his second shot into trouble and taking double bogey.