New Zealand PGA Championship in Arrowtown.

Kiwi Mark Brown has the outright lead after day one of the New Zealand PGA Championship in Arrowtown. The mornings play had been delayed by an hour and a half due to fog, but as the weather warmed up so did the 37-year-old’s golf, as he birdied 14, 16, 17 and 18, before sinking an eagle putt at the par five first to rocket up the leaderboard. Mark, who hasn’t played in New Zealand since 2007, or on the PGA Tour of Australasia since he won the Order of Merit in 2008, commented on the early morning cool temperatures;

“Once the jumpers came off and you started to warm up it was magnificent but early on the ball wasn’t going very far through the air so you had to judge that a little bit.”

Talking about losing his European Tour card, Mark thought it may work in his favour;

“I’m actually looking forward to playing less, with a bit more time off to do some fitness stuff. The body’s in pretty bad shape. Obviously losing your card in Europe’s not ideal but I’ve looked at it as a positive. I can spend some time at home and get fit and do some meaningful practise. To play at home in front of your family and friends down here is just a dream and I’ve really missed it. It’s just fantastic to be home.”

Starting today’s tournament were 132 professionals who teed off in the hope of winning the trophy.  The top 60 will make the cut today and progress through the weekend to play for the NZ PGA Championship.