It is fascinating to watch what strong wind can do to top professional golfers and the Blue Chip New Zealand Open was a perfect example of the drama it can produce. As conditions deteriorated Australia’s Nathan Green was able to sit back and watch as his opponents struggled with the forces of nature and failed to reach the target he had set.
Green played some great golf early in the day, when admittedly the conditions were more favourable. He made seven birdies and a solitary bogey on his way to a 65, by far the best of the day. This left three hours of strong winds and shattered nerves as the field tried to hang on to the leader in the clubhouse.
The day seemed to be set up perfectly for New Zealand’s Michael Campbell. The Kiwi had started the final round just one stroke behind leaders Graeme Storm, Kim Felton and Marcus Fraser. He looked comfortable early on with a birdie at the 1st but as monstrous winds picked up on the back nine he began to struggle. A one-over-par 72 was only good enough for second place, two behind Green.
Englishman Nick Dougherty went some way towards making up for his nightmare 79 on the third day with a final round of 67 ? it was good enough to share second place with Campbell and four Australians.
A solid year for Green has seen him make his mark on the US PGA Tour where he made $1,700,803 to finish 41st on the money list.