Golf: Pearce provides zest

Lime green, lilac and orange are just some of the hues Daniel Pearce showcases every time he strides out on to myriad golf courses around the country and overseas.

Not only did he add colour but the 24-year-old yesterday tamed the Hastings Golf Club course with a 4-under par 68 in the first round of the 2013 Pakline-Autex Hastings Pro-Am to share the lead with Jared Pender and Troy Rophia.

Sporting a fresh lime green yesterday after lilac on Wednesday in the sponsors' hit-out at the Hill Country Estate course, Pearce carded five birdies and 12 pars on a typical autumn's day at Bridge Pa.

"My clothing is bright and vibrant and out there. I dress nice because it feels good so, ultimately, it helps your play," said the former Hawke's Bay amateur representative last night in his first professional game on his former home turf.

Former New Zealand amateur representative Pearce, who hails from Ashburton, moved to the Bay in June 2008 to become a member of the Hastings club as well as work under then New Zealand Titleist Academy coach Brian Doyle, of Hastings, before turning professional last month.

"I played pretty solid all day," said the rookie who is married now and settled in Auckland after playing as an amateur in Melbourne last year.

"I didn't look like making a bogey but the last hole was a little up and down after a bad tee shot."

Pearce's only bogey came on the No 2 par-4 hole although he felt he had had a few scratchy tee shots but got away with them through good recovery on the fairway.

Not long after submitting his card to the officials, he was back on the driving range hitting buckets of balls after some chipping and putting practice.

"I do that after every game I play because it keeps me fresh.

"That's what most good golfers do so that'll never change for me.

"It doesn't have to be a negative because it helps get a feeling for the next day."

For the record, when Pearce tees off today, he'll either be wearing orange or purple trousers and is thankful to his sponsors, clothing giants Puma Clothing.

His ex-Bay amateur rep and club mate, Nick Gillespie, and David Klein were a shot behind.

The next group had Leighton James and Tony Christie on 2-under-par 70 while Te Pohue professional and former Maraenui Golf Club amateur Doug Holloway was a shot behind the pair with Doyle's former amateur protege, Ryan Fox, of Auckland.

New Bridge Pa club professional Brett Allan, 28, who hails from Auckland, joined Waipukurau professional and ex-Bay amateur Pieter Zwart on 72.

Fox wasn't chuffed with his round but pleased he is within striking distance of the lead.

"Today was a bit of a struggle," the son of former All Black Grant Fox said.

He said the course was as good as it ever could be and the venue was one of the best in the country if not the best to play at for all the professionals involved.

Asked what didn't work for him, Fox replied: "I drove poorly and the ball striking was also pretty poor from tee to green."

The 26-year-old won the Hill Country precursor on Wednesday at the private estate course with sponsors in Havelock North to pocket $1500 in the 18-hole event.

Fox was pleased that his putter was hot after carding two birdies and two bogeys in his round yesterday at Bridge Pa in a field of more than 100, including 38 professionals.

He said his professional season was gathering momentum after a scratchy start this year and following a stellar stint last year.

The winner will collect $3000 today from a total prize pool of $17,500 in the annual pro-am tourney.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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