Takaka amateur Blair Riordan has shown his quality on day one of the Carrus Open as he opened with a seven under par 63 to lead Wellington professional Mark Brown and Bay of Plenty amateur Brad Kendall by one shot.


The Srixon Academy player, who was firmly in contention to represent New Zealand at the Eisenhower, made a statement with his round of five birdies and an eagle in cool and overcast conditions at the Tauranga Golf Club today.

“It is an awesome start and if I keep swinging it well it should continue,” said the 22-year-old.

Taupo professional Troy Ropiha, who won the Wanganui Pro-am last weekend, is alone in third place. Auckland pro Luke Nobilo and amateur Tae Koh (Manukau) are tied fourth.

 But the talking point was Riordan. The key to his fast start was his ball striking and a hot putter.

“I got off to a great start I birdied the first three holes. I made a birdie on 18 to get to four under then I hit a really nice hooking three wood on seven and managed to make the putt for eagle. It finished it off nicely.”

He felt like he was ready for an impressive performance after working with his sports psychologist Pogo Patterson in Nelson.

“We worked on belief in myself and trust. It is making me the only person on the golf course which really helped today. 

“My form has been turning around and I took a bit of confidence out of how I played the last few holes of the pro-am yesterday. It has all been positive.”

Riordan is looking to stay as an amateur for at least another year and hopes to be a regular New Zealand rep in the absence of Ben Campbell and Mathew Perry who plan to turn professional.

Meantime former European Tour professional Brown, who is a one-time winner on the Charles Tour, walked off the course frustrated despite shooting a six under par 64.

The talented 36-year-old, who is currently seventh on the OneAsia Order of Merit, was six under through 14 holes and made pars in the final four holes for a flat finish. 

“It is hard to be frustrated with a 64 but that was certainly the case at the end,” said the former Johnnie Walker Champion.

“I have been working really hard on my putting and I am hoping that I will be able to turn it around one day. Then I will be able to realize my potential in this game but at the moment it is holding me back a bit.”

But there were also plenty of positives to reflect on.

“I just hit a lot of greens, I don’t think I missed one actually, hit a lot of my iron shots pretty close.

“I have been putting a lot of time into it. I made a couple of good putts early on but I missed a few on the last few holes which was frustrating but I will try to take the positives out of today’s round.

“I made four birdies from holes 11 – 18 which were probably the tougher holes. To get through that stretch four under was good and then I birdied the first to get to five under but I three-putted the fourth from short range. The eagle on six was pleasing and then I parred in.”

Brown, who is back working with his coach Mal Tongue, has had a good 2012 including a joint runner-up finish at the New Zealand PGA and two top-six finishes in Korea and Thailand on the OneAsia Tour.

“The OneAsia Tour has been great. I have only played five tournaments and I am seventh on the money list and quite high up on the PGA [Tour of Australasia] after going well at the NZ PGA.”

He said a win on the Charles Tour would do his self-belief the world of good.

“Yeah a win would be important for me. I have been working really hard on my game. It is probably my second or even third rejuvenation in my career. But in the last month or so I have re-dedicated myself to practice and going to the gym with another five good years in mind.

“This is the start of that for me and the first tournament where I can put it to the test. I am looking forward to seeing the hard work pay off this week but also further down the track.

“So things have been going well I just haven’t played very much. The tournaments I have been playing in I have been playing well. I am looking forward to a good run of tournaments.”

Kendall, who won the New Zealand Stroke Play in 2010, shot the round of the afternoon which he finished off in style with a birdie at the 18th.

“It feels pretty good,” said the 21-year-old from the Mount Maunganui Golf Club.

“I have been hitting it good for the past couple of weeks and I just came out here and tried to keep it going.”

Kendall said the key to his round was his play from inside 100m after doing some short game work with coach Jay Carter.

“I have been working on it really hard with Jay and we did an aim point putting course – a green reading book which tells you where to aim - which helped as well.”

He is hoping his local knowledge will help him on the weekend as he chases his first win on the Charles Tour.

“Local knowledge around here is pretty important. It helps a lot around the first few holes knowing the lines. It is a great event the Carrus Open. I am looking forward to seeing the locals coming out on the weekend and the support they give is always good.”

Riordan on the other hand is excited about the challenge of being the leader.

“To be in the mix with a guy like Mark Brown is great for me and should be a lot of fun. I heard from a couple of guys out on course that he is playing really well and I am looking forward to that challenge.”





    1 Hillier, Daniel 114.00
    2 Mountcastle, Kerry 112.73
    3 McLean, Matthew 96.55
    4 Lee, Jang Hyun 85.58
    5 Zheng, Jimmy 85.05
    1 Dryland, Brittney 162.37
    2 Hung, Juliana 154.74
    3 Lu, Vivian 148.00
    4 Jung, Miree 134.75
    5 Lim, Carmen 110.96