Canterbury locals Oscar Cadenhead and Reid Hilton are in a share for the lead alongside five-time champion, Mark Brown at the Harewood Open with rounds of four-under 68 on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.

Teeing off in the morning field, the Canterbury pair enjoyed calm conditions on a perfect morning in the Garden City while the experienced Tauranga professional came home strong this afternoon to all hold a one-shot lead over Hawkes Bays Mako Thompson.

The carefree Cadenhead kicked into gear with an impressive eagle on the par five 16th (his front nine) and from there he played very consistent golf to match Hilton and Brown.

Sitting 13th in the New Zealand Order of Merit, which includes five top five finishes, Cadenhead was pleased with his opening day and his new-found consistency.

"It was a pretty solid round and I have played here plenty of times, so I felt confident entering the day and things were going right instead of wrong which was nice," smiled Cadenhead.

The rookie-professional who left the amateur ranks in January enjoyed playing alongside Thompson who was pushing him along the way and even reached the lead at five-under.

"Mako was on fire, and I enjoyed the competition today. Its also nice to see some other good names up there, so hopefully I can whack a few good ones tomorrow as well."

Hilton showed nerves of steel after being in contention for the first time at this level and is enjoying the chance to compete with them as well as his good friend Cadenhead.

"Its the first time I have shot under-par in a tournament for a while, so I took my chances and stayed patient. Theres a good field of pros, so its good to compete with them," said Hilton.

"Its nice to have a bit of local knowledge and having grown up and played a lot of golf with Oscar, it could be a fun to compete and if you know him, a very relaxed week."

But the locals wont be able to sleep easy with Brown breathing down their necks with five birdies of his own (two in the last three holes) and just the one bogey in a "rusty round" of golf.

After spending three months in the Gold Coast working on some swing changes, Brown mentioned his struggles which is a dangerous sign for the rest of the field.

"After practising in Australia, I have made some new changes which are taking some time to get used to and this is my first competition round with them, so I had to chip and putt really well which saved me today," said Brown.

"Winnings always good, but never easy no matter where you are, so its going to have to take some pretty good play from here and there is still heaps of work to do."

Its a tight tussle in the womens field with Caitlin Maurice and Miree Jung both leading the way with rounds of 73.

They hold a one-shot lead over Tara Raj who was leading earlier in the day and is starting to become a real threat at this level.

Much like in the mens field, Maurice is new to the top of the leaderboard and with three impressive birdies in her opening round, she will be aiming to delete the four bogeys from her game tomorrow and build on this great start.

Her competition at the top is in more comfortable territory and after mentioning Jungs talent before the tournament where she recorded 20 birdies in just 36 holes at the South Island Stroke Play Championship, she is going to be hard to hold off from here.

Canterburys Hillary OConnor is just two shots behind and is joined by Anna An as they look to make a charge in round two of the Harewood Open.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Golf NZ