Cameron Harlock has stormed into the lead following the opening round of the Autex Muriwai Open on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.

Harlock came home late in the day with an impressive seven-under 65 to hold a one-shot lead over Kazuma Kobori, Cameron Jones, and Harry Bateman.

The Royal Auckland and Grange golfer began his day off the tenth with three pars before getting on the board with a birdie at the challenging par 3 13th. He followed that up with another at the 14th and again at the 16th to make the turn at three-under for the day.

The 21-year-old took advantage of the par 5 second and then made four birdies from the fifth to move to eight-under. Unfortunately, he made bogey on his final hole, but his round was still good enough to hold a one-shot lead.

Cameron Harlock talks on his day:

“It was pretty awesome out there today. I felt like I stayed really disciplined with my plan, and I felt free. I just tried to execute as well as I could.”

“I played aggressively to my spots, I didn’t I get too emotionally involved in how I was going, good or bad. I felt like I stuck to my plan and had a lot of clarity which was nice.”

“I’m off to the States in June for a stretch of tournaments which will be exciting, and then I’ll be off to college if I don’t get the chance to pop home first.”

“I come into every event wanting to play well, but there is a lot more to golf than that. On Sunday night, I want to feel like I’ve improved as a player and as a person which really important. It’s obviously been a tough couple of years for a lot of people, so I think by getting out there and feeling like I’ve given myself the best shot to play well and having fun while I do it is key.”

Golf New Zealand National Academy member Kazuma Kobori set the pace early in the day with a round of six-under 66 this morning.

Like Harlock, Kobori also began his day off the tenth hole but got into his work quickly with four consecutive birdies from the 12th. He added to his tally again at the 17th to make the turn at five-under-par and the course record in his sights.

However, Kobori couldn’t set the front nine [his back] a light as he did on the back, coming home in one-under to sign for a blemish-free 66.

Kazuma Kobori talks on his day

“I got off to a pretty hot start as I was five-under through eight holes and I pretty much kept it going from there.

“I was actually bogey-free today which I haven’t done in a long time, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

“I really wanted to get some work done today, the forecast for tomorrow looks pretty brutal so it was important I shot a good round so I can fight my way around tomorrow.”

“It’d be great to get a victory on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour. I’ve been playing really well of late but my scores haven’t reflected my golf. Hopefully, I can get it done or go close this week, but there’s still plenty of golf to be played.”

Harry Bateman was able to equal Kobori’s early clubhouse lead this morning, shooting a round of six-under himself.

He also started his day on the tenth, but managed to get on the board immediately with a birdie. Bateman also took advantage of the par 5 12th and added another birdie to his tally at the 15th to make the turn in three-under.

The 31-year-old made back-to-back birdies to begin his back nine [front nine] to move to five-under-par, and at the time, have the solo lead. After a string of pars, he made back-to-back birdies again on seven and eight to be seven-under playing the last.

He, unfortunately, hit his tee shot behind a tree and had to ship out sideways, which resulted in his first bogey of the day.

Harry Bateman talks on his day:

“It was a boring round to be honest, I didn’t really do anything special or put a foot wrong until the last hole unfortunately. I plotted away and holed one or two medium-length putts and had a bunch of tap-ins, that was pretty much all there was to it.”

“I can’t complain, if you had told me I would’ve shot six-under at the beginning of the day, I definitely would’ve taken it.”

“I think you have to pick your moments around here. There are a few tee shots where you can lose a ball pretty quickly if you get too aggressive. It’s a course that presents a lot of opportunities should you put your ball in the right places, you just need to take those opportunities when you can.”

“The gameplan is always relatively conservative around here, I just want to keep working on my game and I’ll see what happens.”

Finally, Cameron Jones has equalled second place with a round of six-under of his own.

Unlike the others, he teed off the first this morning and also got on the board at the second with a birdie. He added further birdies at the fifth, sixth, and eighth holes to make the turn in four-under.

His only blemish of the day came at the 11th with a bogey four. He got that shot back immediately at the 12th and made it four birdies on the par 5s with a birdie on the 14th. He made one more at the 15th and parred his way in to share second place.

Cameron Jones talks on his day:

“I’m really happy! I had a great group and some great playing partners, and I think we got pretty lucky with the weather out there today.

“With my golf, I took good care of the par 5s today and had good eagle chances on all of them resulting in some stress-free two-putt birdies. I managed to make a couple of good putts from that ten to 15-foot range which keeps the momentum going, and I didn’t find myself in too much trouble. I had good course management out there and felt like I kept the ball in front of me all day which is good.”

“Brad [Shilton] could be my good luck charm! We played together a couple of years ago and I was leading after the first round, and to be fair, it didn’t feel a whole lot different today. I wouldn’t say today has come as a surprise, but I haven’t got all the time in the world to put into my game, so some days I’m not really sure what golf swing is going to show up, but today was one of those days where everything felt pretty good.

“I feel like my game has been trending in the right direction and I just needed a four-round event to put it to the test. I’ve been looking forward to this event for ages. To get a four-round event with a good field is something I haven’t had for a while, so I was excited to get out there.”

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