Campbell Four Back of Strange


2006 Blue Chip New Zealand OpenWHANGAPARAOA, New Zealand -- Scott Strange birdied the 18th hole Thursday to shoot 4-under-par 67. He stands one clear of a crowded leaderboard after the first round of the New Zealand Open at Gulf Harbour Country Club.
Jarrod Moseley posted a 3-under-par 68 and is tied for second place with Greg Chalmers and Kim Felton. Chalmers and Felton each bogeyed their final hole to shoot 68. There are nine player one stroke further back.
The players had to battle the elements in the opening round. There was heavy rain and wind early in the day. As the day went on, conditions dried up, but the wind kept blowing and temperatures fell.
Strange, who teed off in the afternoon, opened with a birdie on the first, but parred each of his next nine holes. He moved to minus-2 with a birdie on the par-5 11th.
The Australian grabbed a share of the lead at 3 under with a birdie on the par-3 15th. Strange gave that stroke right back with a bogey on 16.
Strange bounced right back to birdie 17 to regain a share of the lead. He closed by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to end one clear of the field.
'I had a birdie chance on 17 and had one on 18 and I knocked them in,' Strange said. 'When I had a realistic birdie chance, I holed the putt.'
Moseley started on the back nine and got off the flying start. He eagled the par-5 11th, and followed with birdies on the next two holes to get to minus-4.
The 34-year-old tripped to a bogey on 14 and cruised around the turn with five pars in a row. Moseley got back to minus-4 with a birdie on two. He was the only player to reach 5 under for the round after a birdie on five. Moseley stumbled to a double-bogey at the sixth to slide back to 3 under.
Chalmers traded a birdie for a bogey from the third. He collected birdies on six and eight, but made the turn at 1 under after a bogey on the ninth.
The 33-year-old Chalmers flew up the leaderboard with three birdies in a four-hole span from the 10th. He could not get up and down for par from short of the green at the last to finish one back.
'I'm not a water rat. I don't seem to play well in the rain. I was pleased that I could hang in there and hit some good shots,' admitted Chalmers. 'It's a lot easier to do that in bad weather when the putts are going in.'
Felton parred eight of the first nine hole, with a lone birdie at the fifth. Around the turn, Felton birdied three straight from the 10th to get to minus-4. He tripped to a bogey on 18 though.
'We were coming in and 16, 17 and 18 were all into the wind,' Felton said. 'I held on all day until the last. It would have been a nice bogey-free round, but the last hole got me.'
Craig Parry shot 2-under-par 69. He shares fifth place with Stephen Scahill, Peter Senior, Simon Wakefield, Marcus Fraser, Lee S. James, Nick Dougherty, Michael Long and Mark Purser.
Damien McGrane and David Bransdon are among 15 players one stroke further back at minus-1.
Former U.S. Open champion and New Zealand-native Michael Campbell is part of a large group tie for 29th at even-par 71.
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