Ben backs up to stay firmly in contention

Perhaps the only thing tougher than a record-setting, personal best round in your national open is backing it up with a solid second round, but that’s exactly what Ben Campbell did at the Millbrook Resort today.

The 25-year-old led the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open with a 10 under 61 on Thursday and produced a five under 67 at the neighbouring par 72 The Hills course today to be one shot short of Australian leader Brad Kennedy.

Large crowds follow Kiwi overnight leader at The Hills – photo:

“Five under was always good out there, so I can’t complain. I played pretty solid all day, so it was nice,” Campbell said.

“I holed two or three putts outside 10, 15 feet which kept the momentum going. I didn’t quite hit the ball as good as yesterday, but it’s always tough backing up a good round like that.”

Campbell is now based at Millbrook Resort under coach John Griffin and is looking forward to taking on Saturday and Sunday on his home turf.

“It will be good to get back (to Millbrook Resort), I struggled a little bit with the greens (at The Hills), they were a bit firmer than here. I’m looking forward to getting back here and attacking a few more flags,” he said.

There were no overnight nerves for the affable New Zealander, who generally sleeps well but had to battle a 5.30am wake up call to make his 8am tee time, and he will take the same positive attitude into the weekend.

“You can’t protect a lead, you’re going to have get well into the 20s, high 20s to win this – unless the weather does anything different. You’ve just got to keep attacking and make sure you are looking forward and not looking back,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a long way away, but to get a Kiwi to the top by the end of the week would be nice.”

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