Harry Bateman has shot the lights out during a difficult opening round of The Clubroom Gulf Harbour Open held at Gulf Harbour Country Club today.

Bateman has fired an astonishing round of eight-under 64 in a rain affected first round to lead by three over tournament favourite Ryan Fox. The weather didn’t seem to dampen Bateman’s golf game as he rattled eight birdies in his flawless round to take the early ascendency.

He started the day off the 10th hole and opened with five straight pars before making birdie at the 15th. Bateman made another at the 17th and made the turn at two-under.

The back nine is where he would catch fire as he’d make six birdies in the peak of the rain. The Royal Wellington member made three birdies on the trot from the second and then back-to-back birdies at six and seven. He added one more to his tally at the last to sign for the round of the day.

Bateman says it was a great day at the office.

“Today was really solid tee to green. I had about three tap in birdies and holed three or four 10 to 12 foot birdie putts and managed to roll in a 60 footer on the last to cap it off. It was a great day.

“You can’t expect too much in this weather. Sometimes this kind of weather can help as I was just trying to survive and wasn’t thinking too much about my score which probably helped,” he says.

He leads by three over Ryan Fox who also had himself a day after starting with a double at the first to shoot five-under.

After hitting his opening tee shot out of bounds, Fox bounced right back with an eagle at the second to get his round back on track.

He made three more birdies in a row from the fifth before dropping a shot at the eighth and would make the turn at two-under par.

Fox carried his good momentum into the back nine where he would make birdies at the 12th, 13th, 15th, and 17th holes with a bogey on 16 to sign for the second-best round of the day.

He says it was great to get back into tournament golf again.

“For the most part it was really good today. There were a couple of sloppy things in there, I hit a bad tee shot off the first and made double and a sloppy bogey on eight which I thought was a birdie hole today and dropped a shot on 16 which a lot of people would have done today.

“The rest of it was really good. I had a nice bounce back eagle on the second and hot a lot of shots close and took advantage of the six and eight footers which can be tough sometimes out here especially when it gets windy,” he explains.

Fox also says it’s great to be back playing in the same events that helped develop him into being ready for the professional game.

“It’s really good to see the Kobori’s go well today. They’re very talented and I guess that’s the cool thing about the tour as they are in the same position I was seven or eight years ago.

“To be able to see the young golfers coming up and being able to play with a couple of them today was cool but it was a shock to the system carrying my own bag, marking my own scorecard, putting the flag in took me a little while to get used to which I know probably sounds quite bad, but it’s funny what you get used to.

“It’s just nice to get rid of a bit of tournament rust off the game.”

Fox says he’s going to remain aggressive as he tries to hunt down Bateman’s lead.

Play gets underway from 8am Friday.