Kim, who advanced to the Asian Tour after winning three tournaments in the development tour, shot a seven-under par 64 at Millbrook Resort.
The 17-year-old has already won on the Asian Tour proper and has jumped inside the world’s top 150 ranked players. He fired an eagle and six birdies with one bogey in his round.
He has a one shot lead on former champion Brad Kennedy who is late in his round at The HJills with defending champion Zach Murray currently third on three-under late in his round.
New Zealand hope Ryan Fox, who like Murray returned from the WGC event in Mexico this week, shot a first round two-under 70 at The Hills.