Jazz finishes fourth as Murray takes Australian Open

Kiwi Harry Bateman is in a share of third place with one round in the New Zealand Open in Arrowtown to play

Kiwi Harry Bateman is in a share of third place with one round in the New Zealand Open in Arrowtown to play

Agency: Rookie Zach Murray of Australia opened up a five-shot lead after the second round of the New Zealand Open on Friday, but said he was trying to keep a lid on expectations.

Geary, starting eight behind Murray, was superb with his approach play as he collected a nine-under 63 including an eagle on the 340m par-4 15th.

"Obviously with Zach five shots in front [of the next best], you had to do something pretty special if he kept going the way he was", Geary said after his round.

After surrendering the lead with a bogey on the 11th he came back with an eagle at the par-five 13th and then two birdies to build a comfortable buffer before a bogey on the 18th.

New Zealander Josh Geary raised the local cheers after matching the day's lowest round of a 63 to move into second place on his own at the storied event, that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.

Geary, who lost his European Tour card at the end of previous year, hails from Mount Maunganui but would have preferred not to have spent as much time in the sand over the closing two holes, finding two bunkers on 17 and another on 18.

Murray, a 21-year-old from Victoria, had his biggest test on the 18th where he hit a wild tee shot and his second shot flew well over the green, before he made an up and down for bogey to win by two strokes.

Murray banks a winner's cheque of $210,000 and becomes the seventh different Australian champion from the past eight New Zealand Opens.

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But Murray gave his driver a "kiss" and smashed his tee shot superbly down the fairway and went on to make a birdie and get sole lead.

"I'm glad she's all done and dusted. I think I am in a good position for tomorrow, I'll do my best to win".

Three-time pro victor Hall, 35, couldn't respond.

Top-ranked Kiwi (67th in world) Ryan Fox went into the day in a share of third, six shots behind Murray but leading the Kiwi charge with Bateman.

"It was a frustrating day to be honest from three-under after six and everything felt good".

"It was good to be a couple back going into those last few holes because it helped me get back that aggressive mindset", Murray said.

"Even at the age of 13, 14, dreaming of playing it let alone winning it was pretty huge".

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