Australians Craig Parry and Paul Sheehan, alongside Englishman Matthew Woods, led the first round of the Michael Hill New Zealand Open at The Hills Golf Club in Queenstown after carding matching four under par 68s.
Parry, the 2002 champion, carded four birdies on the outward nine while Sheehan hit six birdies to combat consecutive bogeys at the seventh and eighth.
Woods started the day impressively, collecting birdies at the first two holes. He then bogeyed the par three fourth before returning to two under by carding a birdie four on the ninth and picking up further strokes at the tenth and 17th.
Parry admitted he was pleased to make the best of favourable conditions on a newly-developed course, which he admits could be a trial in less accommodating conditions.
"It's a course that, when it isn't blowing, you can go out and shoot a low number,” said the 41 year old. "If the wind blows like it normally would, par's a very good round. We had great conditions out there earlier. The greens were reasonably receptive, the putting surfaces were very good and I played really well."
A further ten players share second place after rounds of 69, with former winners Peter Fowler of Australia and New Zealand native Michael Long amongst that chasing pack.
Swedish hopeful Daniel Chopra, who suffered the heartache of a play-off defeat to Aaron Baddeley in last week's MasterCard Masters, remained in fine form and is well in the hunt after a first round 70.
Former US Open Champion and home hero Michael Campbell, fresh from a two-month break in the game, opened with a one over par 73, ending with three bogeys in the final five holes.