Gates leads by three in New Zealand

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand – Robert Gates shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the Nationwide Tour’s season-opening New Zealand Open.

Gates, the 6-foot-6 former Texas A&M player making his Nationwide Tour debut, had a 16-under 200 total in the event also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.

After birdieing Nos. 1 and 7 in a front-nine 34 at The Hills, Gates dropped a shot on the par-4 11th, then reeled off four straight birdies. He parred 16 and 17 and lost another shot with a bogey on the par-4 18th.

Australia’s Andrew Dodt was 13 under after a 70, and countrymen Michael Curtain (68) was five strokes back at 11 under. Kevin Chappell (71), Mark Hensby (66) and Matthew Griffin (70) were 9 under.

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