Parry shares lead in New Zealand Open

Two-time PGA Tour winner Craig Parry finished with three birdies in a three-under 69 to grab a share of a three-way lead after two rounds of the New Zealand Open golf tournament.

The 45-year-old Australian – the 2002 New Zealand Open champion – followed his first-round 70 with a second round which included five birdies and two bogeys to join compatriot and overnight leader Brad Kennedy and New Zealand’s Josh Geary in the lead at 5 under.

Kennedy had four birdies and three bogeys in a 71, finishing with a bogey which let slip the outright lead. Geary had six birdies and two bogeys in a 68.

Australian amateur Jake Higginbottom shot a 68 after an early tee-off to briefly share the outright lead with Kennedy. He fell back into a three-way tie for fourth with compatriot Leigh McKechnie New Zealand’s Doug Holloway.

Geary, who was the leading New Zealander at last year’s New Zealand Open, made a crucial birdie on the par-4 17th after parred the last hole from a fairway bunker to finish one of the best rounds of the day.

”It was nice and calm and I thought it was going to be a nice day but it started blowing a bit and it got harder and harder,” Geary said. ”Some of those holes into the wind you had to grind it out to make par.”

The 18-year-old Higginbottom took advantage of still conditions in the morning to shoot 68.

”The conditions were perfect for scoring,” he said. ”You couldn’t get much better, especially compared with yesterday when it was pretty tough.”

New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open champion, had rounds of 77 and 79 to miss the cut which was set at 6-under.