Published: Dec 04, 2011 7:36 AM EST
Updated: Dec 04, 2011 7:30 AM EST

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) - Australian Brad Kennedy sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff against compatriot Craig Parry to win the New Zealand Open on Sunday.

Kennedy, the highest-ranked player at the tournament, had been the leader or co-leader after the first three rounds. He took a three-stroke advantage into the final round but shot a 74 to finish in a share of the lead at 7-under 281.

Parry had four birdies to open up a two-shot lead coming to the 18th, but he found water off the tee and double-bogeyed to allow Kennedy to draw level.

New Zealand's Josh Geary was also at 7-under going into the final hole, but he bogeyed to miss the playoff. He finished alone in third place.

Kennedy won for the first time since last year's West Australian Open on the Australasian PGA tour.

Parry, a two-time U.S. PGA Tour winner, had captured the New Zealand Open in 2002 when Tiger Woods was in the field.

Kennedy struggled on the front nine, hitting three bogeys, and eventually relinquished the lead as Parry, starting the day in second place, rallied with birdies on No. 9, 10, 11 and 14.

On the 18th in regulation, Parry knocked his tee shot into the water to the left of the fairway and then hit into long rough before making a good recovery to reach the green. He missed a bogey putt which would have left him with a one-stroke lead, falling back into a three-way tie with Kennedy and Geary who were just approaching the final tee.

Kennedy, however, missed an opportunity to win it when he left his birdie putt short.

Parry again found trouble off the tee on the 18th hole in the playoff, hitting into a bunker. He would have had a 5-foot putt for par had Kennedy missed his final birdie effort.