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Teater, Dempsey lead NZ Open

Teater, Dempsey lead NZ Open

A double bogey on the last hole cost Josh Teater a chance at a course record and dropped him into a share of the lead with fellow American Todd Dempsey on Thursday after the first round of the New Zealand golf open.
Teater, who shared seventh place at last week's New Zealand PGA and lies 14th on the money list on the U.S. Nationwide Tour, collected nine birdies before a six at the 450-meter last hole cost him a shot at the course record of 62, held by Australian Peter Fowler.
He finished with a 7-under 65 at the par-72 Hills course near the resort city of Queenstown. Dempsey's unblemished card contained seven birdies.
Teater had three birdies in an outward 33, a run of four in a row from the 11th hole and two more on the 16th and 17th before his tee shot on the 18th found a fairway bunker.
He visited the sand again before scrambling a six which tied the lead in the US$600,000 tournament, co-sanctioned by the Nationwide and Australasian PGA tours.
"The day was totally different to the first few days we were here. Yesterday morning at the pro-am I thought I played pretty well and shot close to even," Teater said.
Recent cold conditions in Queenstown saw temperatures drop to a seasonal record low of 3 degrees Celsius for Wednesday's pro-am. Teater began his round early, as did Dempsey, before strengthening winds made scoring difficult in the afternoon.
"Today it felt like a different game, not really the wind to account for," Teater said.
"I was hitting pretty decent, pretty close, using the slopes on the greens to get close and then making some putts."
Teater and Dempsey had a two-shot lead over Australian Stephen Dartnall, American Martin Pillar and South Korea's Han Seung-sun.
It has been nine years since Dempsey last held the first round lead in a Nationwide Tour event. He had played The Hills course only once before Thursday's opening round, in bitterly cold conditions Monday.
"I hadn't played it in good conditions and I was surprised I was able to score out there," he said.
"I just played real steady and made a couple of putts. I missed a few opportunities but made a couple too so I'm pretty happy with how I played."
New Zealand PGA winner Steve Alker was among a group of 11 players a further shot back in sixth place.