Trent Munn, Ryan Chisnall, and Jared Pender all took advantage of the beautiful conditions at Tauranga Golf Club to shoot eight-under-par to lead a bunched leaderboard going into round two of the Carrus Open on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.
Munn fired the best round of his amateur career to set the early pace. He opened with a string of pars before making three birdies on the trot from the sixth and made the turn at three-under-par.
He came home strong making five more birdies to shoot 62 and take the early clubhouse lead.
Joining Munn up the top this afternoon was Ryan Chisnall who is starting to make a bit of a habit of being in the lead at Jennian Homes Charles Tour events.
Chisnall got off to a hot start making five birdies in his opening eight holes. His form carried over to his second nine where he made another five birdies along with a bogey at the 10th to sign for 62.
Munn said it was a rewarding feeling walking off the final green today.
“This is the best round I’ve ever shot in a tournament, and in general for that matter.
“To beat my best ever score by three is hugely satisfying. I don’t really know what to say,” he explained.
The 25-year-old’s short game was the key to his success today. He says he gave himself a lot of chances on the greens because of his stellar wedge play and looks forward to doing much the same over the next few days.
“I pitched it really well today. I didn’t necessarily drive it very well, but I missed it in all of the right spots which helped. I hit a few really nice iron shots and rolled the ball really nicely.
“Being up near the lead is fairly new for me. I’m just going to go out there tomorrow and do the same thing as today which is having lots of fun. I’m going to enjoy it.
“The game plan is just to have fun,” Munn smiles.
Jared Pender is no stranger to the Tauranga Golf Club, and his experience paid dividends today.
Like Chisnall, Pender is starting to make a habit of contending in Jennian Homes Charles Tour events in the Bay of Plenty, and he isn’t sure what his secret is.
“I would say early starts with the kids, but I don’t think that’s it. It must be something in the air,” he laughs.
Pender started strong opening with a birdie at the first. After a bogey on the second, he added four more birdies on his opening round to make the turn at four-under par.
He made four more birdies on the back nine to join Munn and Chisnall at the top and said his game is in good shape.
“I didn’t hit it great, but I managed to hole a couple of really good putts and when I missed it I missed it in all of the right spots,” he said.
“I know the course really well but haven’t got out here much since I’ve been out at Te Puke.
“It’s the kind of course you only need to play a couple of times to get used to it. I felt really comfortable on the greens and I think this is the best I’ve seen them.
“The course is in great condition; I think it’s the best I’ve seen it in a long while.”
They lead a packed leaderboard where 55 players shot sub-par rounds.
The women are sure to feature later in the week in the mixed gender event, with Eunseo Choi, Darae Chung, and Munchin Keh just a couple of shots back at six-under.
Leaderboard after Round 1
62 Trent Munn (Manawatu), Jared Pender (Te Puke), Ryan Chisnall (PGA New Zealand)
63 Matthew Morris (Royal Wellington)
64 Darae Chung (Shandon), James Hydes (Gulf Harbour Country Club), Munchin Keh (P), Woonchul Na (PGA New Zealand), Mitchell Kale (Tauranga), Eunseo Choi (Takapuna), Hiroki Miya (Russley)
65 Josh Geary (PGA New Zealand), Dongwoo Kang (PGA New Zealand), Jim Cusdin (Tauranga)
66 Jimmy Zheng (Howick), Daniel Pearce (PGA New Zealand), Mark Brown (PGA New Zealand), Sam An (Titirangi), Harry Bateman (PGA New Zealand), Sam Vincent (Riverside), Cameron Harlock (Royal Auckland and Grange)