New Zealand Amateur Champion Daniel Hillier has launched his way up the leaderboard at the John Jones Steel Harewood Open.

Starting the day two shots behind the group of five leaders, Hillier cashed in on the calm conditions shooting a bogey free six under, 66.

“Yeah I got off to a nice start, lately it has been just one part of my game going well so to have both aspects of my game coming together was good.”

Winning the Amateur Championship at Titirangi back in April has given the 17 year old a mountain of confidence and is one of many promising young players on the circuit.

Shooting a one under par round yesterday Hillier struggled to hit greens in regulation and knew that it was something he needed to fix this morning.

“I felt like I was rolling the ball really well yesterday yet missed a few greens, so it was just a matter of making sure I hit more greens today and the results showed.”

“I have never been leading but have found myself in the top 5 or 10 after 36 holes a few times. From here it takes more mental toughness and not letting it get to your head, this time I will be looking to push on and stick with the big guys come Sunday afternoon.”

There was multiple four under par rounds during the day and big hitters Daniel Pearce and Jim Cusdin were a part of the pack making their presence felt.

These two have featured in many recent Jennian Homes Charles Tour events and will no doubt put pressure on young Hillier as they look to also gain points in the Jennian Homes Trophy which is a points race running for the duration of the season.

Also taking advantage of the mornings calm conditions, women’s defending Champion Chantelle Cassidy came out early to rocket up the leaderboard with a sublime course record of 65.

After winning by a convincing thirteen shots last year Cassidy showed signs of dominance once again quickly rising six spots from the first round.

Starting on the back nine Cassidy chipped in on the 12th which no doubt kicked off her birdie blitz as the 22 year old from Waikato dominated Harewood carding seven birdies for the round with four on the trot from the 18th – 3rd.

“I felt great today and was just wanting to go out there and do the job. A chip in at 12 gave me a massive boost of confidence and from there I knew I could go deep.”

Cassidy showed class and was calm under the mantle of being defending champion.

“It feels great to come back to Harewood Golf Club, the course is in really good knick but I try not to think about being defending champ, I just want to go out there and do the job.”

The women’s cut has been made at +6 (150) and the men’s +9 (153) with play starting at 8:00am



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