Green Edges Out Campbell in New Zealand


2006 Blue Chip New Zealand OpenWHANGAPARAOA, New Zealand -- Nathan Green fired a 6-under 65 Sunday to finish the New Zealand Open at 5-under-par 279.
When he completed his round, he was not even in the lead, but as the leaders went backwards Green's score held up giving him his first European Tour title.
For the second straight day, the wind got worse as the day went on giving those out early the best of the conditions.
'I can't believe it. We definitely had the best of the conditions this morning,' said Green, who was in the 12th group out on the course. 'It was brutal out there this afternoon. I managed to just hang on. I saw the boys had a bit of trouble on 16 and 17, so I am just ecstatic to earn the win.'
Marcus Fraser, who shared the lead with Graeme Storm and Kim Felton after three rounds, stumbled to a 2-over 73. That dropped him into a share of second place at 3-under-par 281.
Fraser ended alongside 2005 U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell (72), Nick Dougherty (67), Jarrod Moseley (70), Wade Ormsby (70) and Brett Rumford (71).
Green flew out of the gate with birdies on the first two holes. He collected back-to-back birdies from the third to move to minus-3.
The Australian parred his next four holes. Green dropped a stroke on the 10th, but rebounded with birdies on 11 and 12 at Gulf Harbour Country Club to move to minus-4.
Green stood there as he parred his next four holes and the leaders started their rounds. With plenty of early movement on the leaderboard, Green stood one stroke behind six players at one point.
Two of those players were Fraser and Campbell, who were at minus-5 after one hole.
Fraser took the lead with back-to-back birdies from the second to move to 7-under. He slid back into a share of the lead with Green and Felton after bogeys on the sixth and ninth. For the week, Fraser played the par-4 ninth at plus-4.
Green had gotten to 5 under with a birdie at the 17th. He parred his final hole, then had to watch and wait. Green joined the television broadcast for a while to kill time, then found a television to watch some cricket as well.
'I watched a bit of the cricket and have been watching the golf for the last hour or so. It has been pretty nerve-wracking,' admitted Green, as the last groups finished their rounds. 'I really didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should go hit balls or what so I just tried to stay warm and stay with what the guys were doing.'
Fraser moved back out in front with a birdie on the 11th. Fraser, playing one group ahead of Felton, bogeyed the 14th to slip back to minus-5.
Meanwhile, Felton opened his round with 13 straight pars. Felton also bogeyed the 14th to fall out of the lead. He went on to bogey three of the final four holes to share second.
That left Fraser and Green standing at 5 under. Fraser also bogeyed 15 to give Green the lead for good. Fraser closed with a bogey on the last to share third.
Campbell, a New Zealand native, was even-par for his round through 13 holes with two birdies and two bogeys. He needed one birdie over the final five holes to force a playoff. Campbell had makeable birdie putts on 16 and 17, but both narrowly missed each time.
His approach at the last came up short of the green meaning he would need to pitch in for birdie to force an extra session. Campbell was unable to sink the chip and actually bogeyed the hole to share second.
Green's title was not secured until Peter O'Malley failed to hole his second shot at the 18th for eagle. O'Malley also bogeyed the last to slide into a share of eighth at 2 under.
'The greens were just so much easier to play this morning,' Green said. 'We saw a lot of guys go out early (Saturday) and post some good scores, so I knew it was out there to be had today.'
O'Malley closed with a 2-over 73 to end in a share of eighth at 2-under-par 282. He was joined there by Greg Chalmers (72), Scott Strange (71) and Simon Wakefield (69).
Felton led a group of six players that finished at minus-1. Also in that group was Daniel Chopra, who birdied five of the first seven holes to grab a share of the lead at 5 under before playing the rest of the round at plus-4.
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