North Harbour professional Michael Hendry has confirmed why he is the tournament favourite with a five under par 65 earning him a share of the lead in the opening round of the Carrus Tauranga Open.

The 2009 champion got off to a fast start getting to three under after six holes and then made a spectacular birdie down the 18th from behind the advertising hoardings to share the clubhouse lead with Waikato professional Jim Cusdin.

Local professional Jared Pender produced the joint best round in the afternoon field with Te Anau professional David Klein - a four under par 66.
But it was Hendry who set the pace. The New Zealand rep sporting a shaved head made six birdies and one bogey on the 8th to back up his confident talk ahead of the first round.
The three time winner on the Charles Tour was happy with his start in the wet and squally conditions.
“I really enjoy playing here,” said the 31-year-old.
“This course suits my style of play. I have had some solid results over in Asia so I expect to come back and play well. I want to play these tournaments at a high level and I expect to be near the top of the leaderboard.
“I would have been happy with anything under par so a 65 is great in those conditions.”
Cusdin had not played a tournament since the ask>Metro Muriwai Open and was pleasantly surprised by his fast start.
“It was nice to come in with a relaxed approach,” said the 26-year-old.
“I didn’t expect much from today. I haven’t played that well here. It is strange because I hit it pretty long and straight and I feel like I should score well here. It just hasn’t happened until today so it was nice to hit it reasonably well. Three birdies in the last four helped me gather a good score.”
Pender, who is yet to win on the Charles Tour but is a perennial contender, was pleased with his form after some hard work with Tauranga club pro Jay Carter and sports psychologist David Galbraith.
“We have been looking at my future in the game,” said the Tauranga Golf Club member.
“The work I have been doing with David has been helpful in figuring out – in short – what is stopping me being on the PGA Tour. We have been working on what drives me and what drags me down… it’s only been four sessions but it is helping.”
Pender said the key to his round was staying patient.
“I hit the ball really well and it was hard going in the wind. I know this course pretty well but the wind today was tougher than it is here for 50 weeks of the year.
“I love this tournament. There is nothing like being in contention on the weekend because all the club members really get behind the local players. I hope I am still in the hunt.”
 Hendry, who won the title in 2009 and was runner up to Ben Campbell last year, believed that experience plays a big role in winning at the Tauranga Golf Club.
“It is a course where you feel like you can attack every hole but the key is not pushing too hard. I tried too much at the 10th today and put myself under pressure. The key here is to stay patient.”
Cusdin, who has never won a four round tournament, plans to take it one round at a time.
“I can’t think about winning yet. It’s a four round event and I have never got over the line with one of them yet. I have had plenty of seconds and thirds so it would be nice to get it done.”
They all know each other’s games well and Hendry is looking forward to the battle over the coming rounds.
“We are all good mates. That is another reason I love the Charles Tour: you come home and catch up with good friends and hopefully get one up on them on the golf course.”
 Hendry’s New Zealand team-mate Gareth Paddison also began his tournament well with a three under par 67.
“I hit the ball down the middle all day – I didn’t make too many putts but I hit it pretty close,” said the Wellington professional who won the Wairakei Open on his Charles Tour debut.
“These tournaments are great preparation for the likes of Mike and me for the bigger tournaments we play overseas. You play to win every event and it’s good to see where your game is at in tournament conditions – what works and what doesn’t. I am happy with my start and looking forward to the rest of the week out here.”
New Zealand number one amateur Ryan Fox, who played with Paddison, managed a remarkable turnaround to remain in contention with a two under par 68.
The 24-year-old got off to a horror start when he four putted the infamous 12th hole, The Knoll, for a triple bogey. He then three putted the 1st hole to be four over for the tournament and then made birdies on 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 to remain within striking distance.
“I am pretty happy after that start,” said Fox, who finished third in last year’s event.
“I played pretty solid apart from the disaster on the 12th and to make six birdies coming home was pleasing.”
New Zealand rep Emily Perry (Lochiel) and Faye-Amy Nickson (Peninsula) shared the first round lead for the women’s amateur event after carding rounds of even par 72.


    1 Lee, Jang Hyun 124.00
    2 Jones, Samuel 80.25
    3 Zheng, Jimmy 76.75
    4 Kobori, Kazuma 70.00
    5 Smail, Charlie 69.83
    1 Chung, Darae 100.13
    2 Son, Yeonsoo 86.85
    3 Kang, Sumin 69.60
    4 Kobori, Momoka 66.67
    5 Im, Amy 60.64