Tataurangi’s our boy

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Two mental errors late in the day may have dashed New Zealand’s Phil Tataurangi’s chances of winning the Michael Hill New Zealand Open at Queenstown.
 
Standing on the 16th tee, Tataurangi was 10 under and only five shots behind American Robert Gates, but two bogeys compared with two birdies by Gates means the New Zealander now trails the leader by eight shots going into the final round tomorrow.
 
Tataurangi, in a tie for seventh after a one under 71, admitted that those two lapses were extremely costly. He overshot the par 3 16th, then blocked his drive into the hazard on the par 5 17th.
 
“I’m really a bit out of reach to be in contention. I need to shoot a good round and I will need some help from the opposition. A lot will also depend on the conditions,” he said, hoping that the buffeting winds that prevailed today will remain tomorrow.
 
“There is a fine line between this course playing easily like yesterday and how it played today. The wind was tricky,” he said.
 
Tataurangi turned two under after three birdies, got to three under on the 15th before his two late bogeys.
 
Tataurangi is the leading New Zealander, two shots ahead of David Smail, the first-round joint leader, and Bradley Iles, who both finished at six under 210 in a tie for 11th after scores of 71 and 72 respectively.
 
 Smail started well with a birdie on the first, but a double bogey at the third followed by two more birdies had him one under at the turn, a score he maintained. Iles also had a double bogey in shooting a par round, the major disappointment for the young golfer was his inability to capitalise on the birdie opportunities on the par fives where he was three over for the day.
 
Josh Geary was in a tie for 28th at 211 after a one-over 73 while Gareth Paddison was one shot back in a tie for 34th after a 70.