After fighting skirmishes on two fronts this week, the battle lines will be drawn at the Millbrook Resort for the final two rounds of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open over the weekend.

Attention has been split between the picture postcard The Hills and Millbrook Resort courses set either side of Lake Hayes Rd over the first two rounds, which have included some searing scoring under a perfect Central Otago sky.

New Zealander Ben Campbell has been the big story of the week on the back of a 10-under, course record 61 at Millbrook Resort on Thursday which helped to put him just one shot behind leader Brad Kennedy, of Australia, leading into the weekend.

If you haven't heard of Campbell, don't chide yourself.


The 25-year-old was caddying for John Key at last year's Open, forced out of the game by a mystery illness which sent him to hospital, followed by months of rehabilitation from a mass of scar tissue in his chest.

There were times when he doubted whether he would play the game competitively again, but his sponsors opted to stick by him and give him the support he required to base himself at Millbrook Resort under coach John Griffin.

He backed up his best round as a professional on Thursday at Millbrook Resort with a five-under 67 at The Hills yesterday to keep the heat on Kennedy, the 2011 NZ Open and 2016 NZ PGA Championship winner.

"Five-under was always good out there, so I can't complain. I played pretty solid all day, so it was nice," Campbell said.

"I holed two or three putts outside 10, 15 feet which kept the momentum going. I didn't quite hit the ball as good as yesterday, but it's always tough backing up a good round like that."

Kennedy birdied six of his last seven holes yesterday for a nine-under 62 at Millbrook Resort to assume the lead from Campbell.

"It was awesome, it is nice to play like that. I had a good rhythm going into the back nine, coming through 15 to 18, I had some nice full numbers," Kennedy said.

"The greens are just pure here so they are great to putt on. I birdied my last four holes."

Michael Hendry, third here last year and a previous NZ PGA Championship winner at The Hills, went six-under at Millbrook Resort yesterday to sit third, three shots behind Kennedy.

"I think I made the most of my round today, it was a day when I could have easily only had even par, or one under," Hendry said.

"I was able to capitalise on the good shots that I had and save par on the bad ones."

Australian Deyen Lawson produced an eagle and double bogey mixed with six birdies at Millbrook Resort on Friday to share fourth place with compatriot and 2014 winner Dimitrios Papadatos, and Korean Sung-Jae Im, on 12-under.

The New Zealand Open's Brodie Breeze Trophy was last won by a New Zealander in 2003, but with Campbell, Hendry and Brad Shilton (-10) all inside the top 10, the tournament is evenly poised.

Unfortunately, European Tour player Ryan Fox was not able to kick on from a solid four-under round at The Hills on Thursday, carding a one-under 70 at Millbrook Resort to avoid the cut by two shots.

Three former winners - Kennedy, Papadatos and Matthew Griffin (-10) - are also inside the top 10.

Defending champion Griffin (Australia) remained in contention with a 67 at Millbrook Resort.

Korea's YE Yang, the 2009 US PGA Championship winner, was arguably the highest profile casualty at the cut, with 2012 NZ Open winner Jake Higginbotham and Japan Tour star Brendan Jones also missing out.

Leader board
127: Brad Kennedy (AUS) 65 62
128: Ben Campbell (NZL) 61 67
130: Michael Hendry (AUS) 65 65
131: Dimitrios Papadatos (AUS) 63 68, Sung-Jae Im (KOR) 66 65, Deyeen Lawson (AUS) 65 66.
132: James Nitties (AUS) 66 66
133: Matthew Griffin (AUS) 66 67, Brad Shilton (NZL) 64 69, Callan O'Reilly (AUS) 69 64.