First round dud costs Campbell


Golf

Masterton golfer Ben Campbell's hopes of playing on the European professional tour next year took a setback when he struggled to find form at a qualifying tournament in Spain.

A disastrous first round of 83 cost Campbell dearly at the El Valle Golf Resort. He struck back with rounds of 73, 73 and 70, but finished on a 16-over par total and in 73rd place.

That left the country's former top-ranked amateur 19 shots off the qualifying mark.

Also attempting to qualify for the European tour in Spain was Josh Geary, the leading Kiwi for the past three years at the New Zealand Open.

He played at the Las Colinas Golf and Country Club and his rounds of 74, 74, 69 and 71 left him four over par and eight shots off qualifying.

Meanwhile, there was better luck for Hamilton professional David Smail, who completed rounds of 68, 68, 74 and 72 to claim a top-15 finish on the Japan Golf Tour.

Smail earned $33,000 and climbed to 52nd on the Japan Golf Order of Merit. He needs to finish inside the top 70 on the money list to secure his card for the same tour next year.

If successful he may have company from another Kiwi in 2013, with North Harbour professional Michael Hendry progressing to the final stage of qualifying for the Japan tour.

The New Zealand PGA champion fired rounds of 71, 67 and 69 to finish 21st at the most recent qualifying event, making the cut for the next stage by two shots.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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