Ashburton professional Daniel Pearce would like nothing more than to secure his first four round win as a professional on home soil.

The 26-year-old set the pace in brutal winds today in Christchurch when he opened with a two-under par 70 in round one of the John Jones Steel Harewood Open on the Charles Tour.


The big-hitting pro earned a one shot lead from three golfers, professionals Leighton James and Pieter Zwart and Ashburton amateur Jordan Green.

Pearce, a perennial contender on the Charles Tour, broke through for his first four round victory two months ago when he won the Vanuatu Open.

After a consistent season at home on the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am circuit, Pearce feels like it is time that he got over the line on the Charles Tour. He was happy with his promising start.

“It was pretty tough out there in the wind,” said Pearce.

“I hit the ball really solid off the tee which gave me plenty of opportunities. I hit the driver really well and made a few putts but the driver was definitely the difference.”

Pearce has set two clear goals for the rest of 2014; he wants to win another four round event and most importantly he wants to get a tour card on a tour of note.

“My form has been pretty good coming into this and I was looking forward to this week. I think Harewood is a ball striker’s course and that suits my game. The longer the better. I feel pretty comfortable around here and hopefully I can carry on from a good start.”

Meanwhile, Hastings professional Leighton James was pleased with his promising start considering his form has been “non-existent” of late.

“Knowing that scoring would be a bit tougher due to the high winds, I just stayed very patient,” he said. “I holed out nicely from 10 feet as well which really helped.”

James said he has struggled with every aspect of the game in recent time.

“I have felt like I have been playing a lot better than I have been scoring, but have got nothing from my rounds unfortunately. Today was nice to get some rewards from hitting good shots.”

Zwart, a former winner of the Papua New Guinea Open, was also pleased with his grinding one-under par 71.

“It was nice so continue in good form after winning on my last start,” said Zwart of his win at Kaikoura in the lead-up to this event.

The Zimbabwe born Kiwi said it was “very difficult” out there but the key to his score was a good day with the putter.

“I had to control the flight of my ball, hitting a lot of low shots, and while my balls striking wasn’t perfect, I scrambled and putted really well. My short game helped me today.”

Three-time Charles Tour winner Troy Ropiha was also solid on day one with an even par 72 as was another three-time winner Mark Purser who opened with a one-over par 73.

Defending champion James Hamilton got off to a slow start with a four-over par 76.



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