Home town hero Grant Moorhead leads the Augusta Funds Management, Taranaki Open presented by PipeTech after an impressive round of five under 67 in his backyard.
The event is the opening event in the second season of the new Jennian Homes Charles Tour where the players will additionally compete to try claim the Jennian Homes Trophy, played over six national tournaments.
After thunderstorms were expected in the town where weather is the leading small talk topic, New Plymouth Golf Club seemed to get away with it as only showers popped in throughout the day as Moorhead put on a show for his local fans.
With six birdies on the card through 17 holes, the 45-year-old was looking unstoppable but on the final hole came his one and only bogey blemish.
"I have been trying to get my game back to the point where I can contend. Its been a tough couple of years, but it feels like my game is heading somewhere so thats a positive," said Moorhead.
At a course where his 1992 Eisenhower Trophy success covers the clubhouse walls, this would be a famous victory for Moorhead and the New Plymouth Golf Club. He also had the privilege of having his father and son sharing the caddy duties throughout the day to add to the occasion.
"I have certainly played a lot of rounds here over the years and it doesnt get any easier. I know the greens well and its all about trusting the lines but hopefully I can continue this way and keeping the putter hot will be key. I also dont want to get too far ahead of myself."
"I have played well here a couple of times but it would just be nice to be in the mix at the end."
As mentioned earlier in the week, this is an extremely strong field so he must continue his form to maintain the number one spot with some good names hot on his heels.
Just one shot back is Hayden Beard who went four under par, yet will be ruing two bogeys that see him trailing Moorhead.
Beard has returned from Japanese qualifying school and New Caledonia so is looking to take that international experience and bring it to the floor in Taranaki.
Some more experience also sits at three under par with past champion Fraser Wilkin, Martin Pettigrew and Nick Gillespie all getting off to a solid start as they look to hunt down the leading horse.
As we build up for She Loves Golf month, Brittney Dryland and Ela Grimwood have shown their love for the game carding solid rounds of one over in tough conditions.
Dryland will be ruing her 18th hole where the Akarana Open champion finished with a naughty double bogey.
The bookies favourite, Chantelle Cassidy, is three shots back after a difficult four over par round, but without a cut in the womens field the New Zealand representative will have more than enough time to grind her way back into the race.
With a one tee start, the Taranaki Open will be back in action from 7:30am tomorrow with the local leader Moorhead set to tee off at 12:10pm.
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Golf NZ