WELLINGTON: Rookie Zach Murray of Australia opened up a five-shot lead after the second round of the New Zealand Open on Friday, but said he was trying to keep a lid on expectations.
The 21-year-old, who only turned pro in November, hit a seven-under 65 at the Hills course in Arrowtown to follow up the eight-under 63 he made in the opening round at Millbrook Resort.
It left Murray five shots clear of Japan’s Ryuko Tokimatsu and six ahead of a five-strong pack in third comprising Australians Dimitrios Papadatos and Brad Kennedy, New Zealanders Harry Bateman and Ryan Fox and Kodai Ichihara of Japan.
Murray said it was far too early to think about winning the tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, and is celebrating its centenary year in 2019.
“You can dare to dream about it but it does not help the cause too much,” he said.
“Obviously you don’t know what is at the end of the four days, but I’m playing well.”
Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy was placed 22, with KJ Choi of Korea 27th.
Former US PGA Championship winner YE Yang failed to make the cut, as did 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell of New Zealand and defending champion Daniel Nisbet of Australia.
Campbell, who turned 50 last month and plans to play on the senior tour, said it was an interesting experience after six years of retirement.
“My putting, my chipping, my pitching came back very quickly,” he said.
“My driving right now is pretty average. I need to work on that a little bit.”