Golf: Wilkinson only two back in Utah

Tim Wilkinson begun the Utah Championship on the Nationwide Tour in style, shooting a five under par 66 to earn a share of fifth place. Photo / Getty images.
Tim Wilkinson begun the Utah Championship on the Nationwide Tour in style, shooting a five under par 66 to earn a share of fifth place. Photo / Getty images.

Manawatu golfer Tim Wilkinson begun the Utah Championship on the Nationwide Tour in style, shooting a five under par 66 to earn a share of fifth place.

The former PGA Tour professional, currently 49th on the Order of Merit, made the turn in one under par after two birdies and a bogey at the Willow Creek Country Club.

He came home even stronger, playing the back nine in four under par to card a 66 and sit only two shots back from Americans Doug LaBelle and Morgan Hoffmann II and Canadian Brad Fritsch.

Wilkinson, whose best finish for 2012 is a tie for ninth at the Panama Championship, needs a good run of results to climb inside the top 25 players on the tour and automatically qualify for the PGA Tour in 2013.

Steven Alker, currently 63rd on the Order of Merit, is missing this week's tournament in Utah as he prepares for the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes, the only Kiwi in the field for the major.

Meanwhile, New Zealand No 1 Danny Lee is sitting in the middle of the pack after round one at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour.

The 21-year-old Korean-born Kiwi, who is currently 157th on the Fed Ex Cup standings, made two late birdies to finish on a one under total in a share of 84th place.

The former US Amateur champion will begin round two nine shots back from American Troy Matteson, needing a sub-par round tomorrow to make the cut in Illinois.

On European Challenge Tour, Wellington professional Mark Brown made a slow start to the Credit Suisse Challenge.

The former European Tour player carded a two over par 73 to be in a share of 95th place in Lucerne.

Brown made three bogeys and a birdie and will begin round two 11 shots back from Dane Joachim Hansen, who opened with a nine under par 62.

Michael Campbell, who enjoyed his best finish on the European Tour for 2012 last week, is not in action this week.

- APNZ

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