Golf: Perry puts himself in contention

By Daniel Richardson of APNZ in Queenstown

Waikato golfer Mathew Perry is due a bit of good fortune. Photo / Getty Images.
Waikato golfer Mathew Perry is due a bit of good fortune. Photo / Getty Images.

Waikato golfer Mathew Perry is due a bit of good fortune after some frustrating near-misses and it appears to be heading his way at the NZ PGA Championship at The Hills this week.

Perry, who turned professional before last year's New Zealand Open in Christchurch, has fired two impressive rounds in Arrowtown, near Queenstown.

He opened with a five-under 67 yesterday and followed that up with a solid two-under 70 today to be in a share of fifth place at seven-under midway through this afternoon.

After missing his Australian PGA Tour card for this year by two shots at Q School in January and his card for the Asian Tour by one stroke it was a welcome relief for Perry to see his name near the top of a leaderboard.

Perry's performance during the first two rounds is all the more impressive considering he was a qualifier for the event after he shot a 68 at the Omaha Beach Golf Club in Auckland on Monday to secure his start.

"I was really happy with yesterday. I played really well, hit it really close and today it's good to back it up. So pretty happy with where I am going in to the weekend," he said.

"Qualifying is something that a lot of pros have to go through and it's part and parcel of getting to an event like this."

Perry, who made only two bogeys in his first 36 holes, said he wouldn't let a lack of big tournament experience bother him during the weekend.

"I'll just continue the same way I've been going. At the end of the day it's just a golf ball and a golf hole. So experience doesn't really matter from my point of view. If the chance is there on Sunday then I'll be taking it."

Perry was three strokes back from Australian Scott Strange this afternoon, who leads the tournament at 10-under after a blistering second round of 65 today.

Kiwis Gareth Paddison and Michael Long are in a share of second place, alongside Australian Rohan Blizard at nine-under.

Mark Brown fired a five-under 67 to move up the leaderboard to a share of 15th, while Steven Alker carded a three-under 69 and was in a tie for 23rd.

Josh Geary is in a tie for fifth alongside Perry and a pair of Australians, Scott Laycock and Kim Felton, after he shot 68 today, while defending champion Michael Hendry is also at seven-under after he birdied two of his first three holes this afternoon.

The projected cut for the tournament is at one-under.

- APNZ

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