Five birdies and an eagle over his closing six holes have catapulted Andrew Dodt into a share of the clubhouse lead in the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open.
The Queenslander fired a brilliant eight-under-par 64 at The Hills near Queenstown, a score that was equalled shortly afterwards by 2004 Australian Amateur champion Andrew Martin.
Tied for third on seven under were journeyman Terry Pilkadaris and young Kiwi Harry Bateman who carded 64s at the par-71 Millbrook Resort, which is co-hosting the pro-am style event.
Ten players were tied fifth at six under, including Australian Open champion Cameron Davis, New Zealanders Josh Geary and Gareth Paddison and rising star Harrison Endycott.
Early in his round Dodt failed to capital on benign conditions in Queenstown. He was one under through 12 holes, having missed a handful of birdie putts inside eight feet.
Afterwards, he admitted to trying to force a low score. But it all came together on the final stretch where he went 4-3-3-2-3-3. The highlight came on the 503-metre, par-5 17th where Dodt hit a 3-wood onto the green and then drained a 10 footer for eagle.
“It’s not going to get any easier than right now,” said Dodt who is a bit of a New Zealand specialist. He finished sixth last year and was runner-up at The Hills in 2010.
Meanwhile, Sydney rookie Harrison Endycott continued the blistering start to his professional career with a sizzling 65.
Endycott turned professional late last year after a stellar amateur career where he was a member of the victorious Australia team along with Davis that won the 2016 Eisenhower Trophy.
Endycott has maintained his from from last month’s Oates Vic Open, where he lost a playoff to Simon Hawkes. Starting his round on the 10th at Millbrook, he notched seven birdies and a single bogey on the 12th. However, he missed a handful of putts inside 15-20 feet.