North Harbour professional Michael Hendry fired a seven-under par 65 at the Perth International yesterday to claim a share of the first round lead at the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia co-sanctioned event.
The 33-year-old, who finished seventh at the Nanshan China Masters last week on the OneAsia Tour, continued his hot form at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club to outshine a top class field.
After three birdies and a bogey on the front side Hendry made the turn in two-under par 34 and then came home strong with five birdies on the back nine to post the lead which was later matched by Spain's Alejandro Canizares.
Argentinean Emiliano Grillo (66) is one shot further back, with England's Andrew Johnston and Paul Casey in a share of fourth place after carding rounds of 67.
Hendry began the season in fine style when he claimed the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship at The Hills but, by his own admission, has been quiet on the OneAsia Tour until last week.
He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Danny Lee who won in Perth on a European Tour co-sanctioned event - the 2009 Johnnie Walker Championship.
Wellington professional Mark Brown carded a one-under par 71 to be in a share of 29th place to be six shots back from the leaders.
The other Kiwis are off the pace; Mahal Pearce (74), Ben Campbell - in his first event as a professional - (75), Gareth Paddison (75), Brad Shilton (76), Hamish Roberston (76) and Michael Long (80).
Meanwhile, in the United States Danny Lee continues to fight for his card on the PGA Tour.
The New Zealand No 1 is in a nine-way share of sixth place at The McGladrey Classic in Georgia after carding a five-under par 65 at the Seaside Course on Sea Island.
Lee will begin round two three shots back from Americans Bud Cauley and Marco Dawson who opened with rounds of eight-under par 62.
The Rotorua professional is currently 159th on the money list and needs to climb inside the top 125 players to keep his PGA Tour card for the 2013 season.
Auckland professional Ryan Fox is tied 28th at the First Stage of PGA Tour qualifying in Nevada.
The son of All Black great Grant Fox has had rounds of 71, 72 and 71 at the Dayton Valley Golf Club for a two-under par total and needs to go low in the final round tomorrow to secure his next step.
The 25-year-old Fox, who has won three titles in his rookie year as a professional and currently leads the NZPGA Order of Merit, needs to finish inside the top 19 and ties to proceed to the second stage.
The big-hitting Fox will begin the final round eight shots back from the leading American trio of Nathan Tyler, Nick Delio and Gregor Main.
Fox was ruing the finishes to his first two rounds. On day one he was four under par through 17 holes before he made a triple bogey on his last hole.
In round two he repeated the dose with a bogey and double bogey on his final two holes to go from three under par to even for the day.
Manawatu professional Tim Wilkinson is in a share of 15th place at the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open in Florida on the web.com Tour.
Wilkinson, who is 54th on the web.com money list and needs to climb inside the top 25 to return to the PGA Tour, had a two under par 68 to be three back from American Doug LaBelle II.
Steven Alker, who is 96th on the order of merit, carded a two-over par 72 to be off the pace in a share of 71st place.
After finishing third at the Portugal Masters last week Michael Campbell has climbed to rank as the New Zealand No 2 on the Official World Golf Rankings.
The former US Open Champion, who recorded his first top 10 finish in four years, climbed almost 250 places from 607 to 361 in the world. He is not playing this week but will return to action next week at the BMW Masters in China.