Hall leads NZ big freeze

Aussie Ashley Hall is the 36-hole leader at a NZ PGA Championship hard hit by freezing winds and heavy showers.

Australia’s Ashley Hall is the 36-hole leader at a New Zealand PGA Championship that has been hard hit by freezing winds and heavy showers.

Conditions were so bad at the Clearwater golf course near Christchurch, in fact, that the first six players at the tournament’s second round all had to play their rounds in the morning on Friday.

And the fact that only one player managed to break par in the afternoon compared with five in the morning highlighted the deteriorating weather.

Hall shot a three-under par 69 to take his tournament total to seven-under and go three shots clear of New Zealand’s Anthony Doyle.

Doyle sits alone in second place on four-under, one stroke clear of the next four players – New Zealanders Grant Moorhead and Gareth Paddison and Australia’s Mitchell Brown and Stephen Allan.

Doyle, the Christchurch Golf Club resident professional, also thrived in the calm early conditions, emerging as the only player not to drop a shot on Friday.

“The best thing about today was my putting, I’ve had no three-putts for the two rounds and I guess that’s where you pick up your shots on the field,” Doyle said.

Fifty players made the cut at three-over, with a notable omission being New Zealand’s defending champion Steve Alker, who bogeyed the last hole to miss by one stroke.