Golf: Ropiha leads Lee by one in Tauranga

Troy Ropiha. Photo / APN
Troy Ropiha. Photo / APN

Taupo golf professional Troy Ropiha has his eyes fixed on winning on The Charles Tour for a third time.

The 31-year-old, who has won the Taranaki Open twice on his old home course, is the leader at the halfway stage of the Carrus Open after he carded rounds of 64 and 66 at the Tauranga Golf Club for a 10-under par total.

The Wairakei golfer holds a one shot lead over former Japan Tour professional Richard Lee who backed up his opening 66 with a five-under par 65 in the squally conditions today. (fri)

Overnight leader David Klein (69) is a further shot back while two-time champion Josh Geary (67) and North Harbour professional Joshua Carmichael (66) in a share of fourth place.

But the second round was all about Ropiha who took advantage of his favourable draw in the lighter winds.

"I was glad to get that one finished," he said.

"I didn't really swing it that well today but I grinded out a good score."

Ropiha was pleased to be in contention again to win on the Charles Tour.

He finished runner-up behind Mark Brown, who broke away with an eight-under par 62 to win by four last year, and said that performance helped his confidence.

"I like the golf course. It is pretty risk and reward and I like that. I am quite aggressive with driver going for most of the short par fours. I like playing here and it is even better when you play well.

"I am looking forward to the weekend here and hopefully winning for the third time [on The Charles Tour]."

Meanwhile Lee, who recently qualified for the final stage of qualifying school for the Japan Golf Tour, is looking for his first win on The Charles Tour.

The Auckland pro was happy with his two-round total considering his preparation.

"I haven't been playing much golf lately so I am a little bit out of sorts," the 39-year-old said.

"I have got two different swings going at the moment - one for my driver and one for my irons just to try and get it going straight - and it seems to be working."

Geary was optimistic of his chances of winning the Carrus Open for the third time after a strong finish to round two.

The former Web.com Tour player was two-over par through the turn but played the last nine holes in five-under par to keep his hopes alive.

"I had a few average bogeys on the front but I felt like I hadn't done much wrong," Geary said.

"I dug pretty deep and made a few good saves and birdies and an eagle on the back nine which turned things around."

Geary said the turning point for his round was driving the par four third and making eagle.

The top 60 players and ties (62) made the cut at the Tauranga Golf Club on a six over-par total.

Meanwhile, North Harbour amateur Lita Guo is focused on continuing her breakthrough season in 2013.

The 17-year-old from the North Shore Golf Club carded another one-over par 73 today to establish a two stroke lead from Bay of Plenty local Tyla Kingi at the halfway stage of the women's field.

Waikato amateur Hanna Seifert (72) and former NZ Amateur Champion Mun Chin Keh (76) are third and fourth respectively as they look to chase down Guo.

The women's field was cut to the leading 12 players after two rounds which was an 11-over par total.

- APNZ

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