Whanganui champion golfer Tara Raj was not entirely happy with her early form at the Jennian Homes Charles Tour in New Plymouth.

Playing alongside tournament leader Rose Zheng in the Augusta Funds Management Women's Ngamotu Classic presented by PipeTech, Raj finished round one on Thursday seven strokes off the pace.

She shot an eight over par 80, seven behind NZ No12 woman Zheng one over on 73. Zheng is ranked NZ No3 junior and on a +2.5 handicap, while Raj is No17 and No53 in the all age category on a scratch handicap.

"Did slightly better today, but still not my best - I shot a four over (76)," Raj said immediately after her morning 18-hole second round yesterday.


Zheng shot another one over 73, but with other golfers yet to complete the course it was unclear whether she had retained her slim one shot lead from day one over Pakuranga club mate Caryn Khoo on 74.

Raj said the women's tournament failed to attract may players this year, but those competing were strong players.

"There's only about eight of us playing this year, but everyone is like on a less than 3 handicap - it's going to be tough," Raj said.

Raj and her caddy mother Arlene only just made it back to the clubhouse before rain began falling on the New Plymouth Golf Club course.

"We were lucky, but they've had a lot of rain up here and there's puddles lying on the fairways and the greens are slow. I have struggled on the greens on the first nine today, but improved on the back nine," Raj said.

It was this time last year where Zheng won her first Jennian Homes Charles Tour title at the Harewood Open and she is in good stead to put a new trophy in her cabinet.

In the men's division former Manawatu Wanganui players Josh Munn and Tyler Hodge both shot 76 in round one on Thursday, while Whanganui-born ex-professional Craig Owen shot 80 on what is now his home track in New Plymouth.

Manawatu golfer Munn has returned home from Melbourne after losing his PGA card in an attempt to regain it, while Hodge plays out of the Levin club.

Play continues through until tomorrow.