Te Anau professional David Klein has made a late surge to lead the Carrus Open after posting a clinical round of seven-under par (63) to hold a one stroke lead at the Tauranga Golf Club.
His afternoon round was squeaky clean with seven birdies and zero bogeys to hold a narrow margin over Bay of Plenty locals Mark Brown, Karl Knedler and Aucklands Dongwoo Kang in the final event of the Jennian Homes Charles Tour season.
Klein who won his maiden Jennian Homes Charles Tour title at the Taranaki Open in 2012, has since captured victory on the PGA Tour of Australasia last year at the Queensland PGA Championship where rising kiwi professional Daniel Pearce recently won.
There is no doubt he will be looking to call on this winning experience and record his second New Zealand title after a solid start today.
"Yeah its a nice feeling, I played smart, solid golf today and its pleasing to do it on opening day," said Klein.
"I was however a little disappointed I couldnt capitalize on the par fives which is normally my strength."
He will now get the perfect chance to build on his lead with an early tee time tomorrow and will stick to his round one game plan and what he knows best, attack.
"It doesnt change anything, I am going to play the same way whether Im first or 20th."
Three-time champion and current defending champion, Mark Brown showed why he has been so successful here in the past with an amazing finishing nine, shooting just 29 with four birdies and an eagle to be tied second.
Brown started slowly, but that quickly changed when he made the turn to the front nine where he has continued to go incredibly low over his long career.
"Yeah it was good after getting off to a slow start and once I got to the first I knew there were some birdie and eagle chances to come," said Brown.
"It will be pretty low scoring and almost a putting competition out there, but I have won the last three times I have played here, so the track record is good. Its nice to be back and playing in front of family and friends."
Knedler who is in slightly unfamiliar territory, is excited about the week ahead as he looks to make the most of playing in his own backyard.
"It feels great to do this at home, the old man is on the bag who offers a good distraction in between shots and he has been there from the start, so I cant wait to get back into it tomorrow," said Knedler.
Dongwoo Kang also joins the chasing pack after seven birdies of his own, but the one slip up saw him also settle for second.
There is a swarm of good names not far behind, but two players who will struggle to sleep this evening is Harry Hillier and Daniel Pearce. Both players made it to seven-under and with holes up their sleeve before both making disastrous triple bogeys on the 16th and 17th respectively to come home in an ambulance.
Further down the leaderboard, Gareth Paddison, who has won the last two consecutive events on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour has left the door slightly ajar in the race for the Jennian Homes Trophy after shooting a controlled round of three-under.
This puts Brown in a nice position to apply pressure on the in-form Paddison as we reach the end of the golfing summer. For Brown to steal the trophy at the final event, he will firstly require a victory on Sunday afternoon and Paddison to finish outside the top three.
Its a close race in the womens field with three youth versus experience with Rose Zheng, Carmin Lim and Chantelle Cassidy in a share for the lead at one-under.
The recent Muriwai Open champion, Cassidy is looking to repeat the feat of Paddison and make it back-to-back victories on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour and finish the year in style.
Aucklands two brightest talents in Zheng and Lim are starting to show consistency and will challenge the experienced amateur in Cassidy till the end. Lim will also be ruing a tough finish after making double-bogey on her final hole of the day.
One thing we know about the Tauranga Golf Club is that there are low scores on offer and to win against such a strong field, you have to take the majority of your chances. First ball will once again be struck at 7:15 tomorrow morning.