Golf: Hendry burns up the course at Lawnmater Classic

Michael Hendry lines-up a putt at The Hills during the BMW ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Photo / Getty Images
Michael Hendry lines-up a putt at The Hills during the BMW ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Photo / Getty Images

Michael Henry has shot a superb eleven under par 61 to lead the Lawnmaster Classic by four shots.

With 11 birdies and zero bogeys Hendry couldn't put a foot wrong as he yet again stamps his mark on this tournament.

Wind turbines in the distance were made redundant in the calm conditions as the defending champion came out firing on a warm Manawatu afternoon, making four birdies in his first five holes and never looking back.

The whole field had was treated to perfect scoring conditions, but Hendry showed his class firing dart after dart into the soft greens.

"Yeah it was a really good round of golf, I was hitting it well off the tee which allowed me to go straight at the pins with the soft greens. I also holed a couple of big putts as well," said Hendry

Very quickly punters were thinking of the number 59 and Hendry also had similar thoughts when asked if it was on his mind.

"It was pretty much on my mind the whole day. After I got to seven under through eleven with a couple of getable par fives to come I thought I had a chance. Sadly I didn't capitalize down 15, and once that chance slid by I just had to keep going as low as possible."

Playing partner and New Zealand Golf representative, Ryan Chisnall described the round as an "18 hole highlights reel".

"That's my lowest tournament round equalling a 61 at Denarau in Fiji a few years back, so couldn't have asked for much more."

James Beale enjoyed his lunch after his morning round of 65 to be the clubhouse leader for the majority of the day.

Beale who has just recently turned professional will be ruing a slow start after sitting even through five, but flicked the switch to card eight more birdies (nine in total).

"Yeah very happy with the round, I started off a little shaky but saved par on the first then made bogey on five, but from there I putted really well and got it going," said Beale.

"What helped me today was no wind. I hit the ball pretty high so the soft fairways and no wind really helped my game."

The young North Shore golfer has been lacking tournament experience and will be looking to gain momentum and earn more starts throughout 2016.

"I know my games there, for me it's about getting into events. I haven't played a four round event since last year so it's about getting some status and put four rounds together."

Dongwoo Kang and Woonchul Na will find it hard to believe they are five shots off the lead after posting very tidy rounds of six under, 66.

Na finished the round pitching in from 50 meters to eagle the 18th in front of a growing crowd and boost his confidence heading into the weekend.

"I hit a good drive and had 48 metres to the flag and had a good feeling thinking, I can hole this and I thought I hit it a little hard but it hit the flag and went straight in," said Na.

Kang is arguably the countries in form player at the moment showing great consistency over the past month. Kang knew he was going low today and there will be no surprises if he backs it up tomorrow.

"I don't know what's got me playing well, but yeah, I always want to play well every day, that's my goal and finally all the practice and hard work seems to be paying off," said Kang.

Leading the amateur field is Auckland based Brian Joe who sits at six under par after having an amazing run of six birdies in a row through the middle of his round.

The race may have been dominated by one horse in the men's draw, but a photo finish looms on Sunday in the women's field with five golfers tied for the lead.

Hillary O'Connor one of the representatives of last year's winning Canterbury team in the Toro Women's Interprovincials was in fine form and leading the charge at four under before a dropping two shots on the trot to finish two under the card.

Joining her at the top are her Canterbury team mates, Amelia Garvey and Momoka Kobori with Chantelle Cassidy, Grace Senior and Rose Zheng, the playing reserve from that winning Canterbury team, rounding out the top five.

These girls are used to going head to head being in such a small field and there is no lack of competiveness between them all as they consistently produce a great spectacle come Sunday afternoon.

There is no secret conditions were tailor-made for scoring low today with 53 players scoring under par across both fields which will provide a low scoring cut line.

It may have been a dart board out there, but you still have to make the shots and sink the putts which showed the quality in the field competing on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour this week.

- NZ Herald

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