Strange leads field in New Zealand

Australian Scott Strange leads the field in the New Zealand Open in Auckland, battling high winds and heavy rain.

Australian Scott Strange leads the field in the New Zealand Open in Auckland, battling high winds and heavy rain.

Strange, on -4 after the first round, has fellow Australians Greg Chalmers, Kim Felton and Jarrod Moseley snapping at his heels just one shot back.

The chasing pack lies one shot back again on -2 and includes England's Simon Wakefield and Lee James.

Meanwhile, Moseley said his early tee-time had been a blessing in disguise.

“Getting off to an early start was probably an advantage but it [the wind] could blow itself out by the afternoon,” he said. “It was very difficult out there so anything under par was fantastic.”

Despite a composed performance on the back nine, 2005 US Open champion and home-town favourite Michael Campbell could manage only level par after a run of three bogeys in four holes from the third – his 12th.

Campbell was satisfied with his performance but conceded it had been hard to focus out on the course with the elements taking centre-stage.

“The rain and the wind can cause you to lose your focus,” he said. “But I’m very, very pleased with how I hit the ball. I’m pretty excited about the next three days because I know I am due for a win.”

Other Europeans well-placed on one under heading into the afternoon include Ireland’s Damien McGrane on -1 (Peter Lawrie is +1 after the first round), Spaniard Carl Suneson and Englishmen Nick Dougherty, Simon Wakefield and David Griffiths.

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