A hot start in cool conditions has seen a trio of Japanese players hit the top of the leaderboard early on day two of the 100th NZ Open in Queenstown.
Kodai Ichihara began the day two shots off the lead held by compatriot Ryuko Tokimatsu, New Zealand’s Harry Bateman and Australian Zach Murray, but peeled off three birdies in his first four holes at Millbrook.
With a birdie on the par 5 17th he briefly settled on 10-under, but dropped a shot on the next hole to card a 33 for the back nine to be one shot ahead of the overnight leaders, who are all yet to start their rounds.
Tokimatsu edged back on top at nine-under with two birdies and a bogey in his opening nine holes at Millbrook, while Yoshitaka Takeya fired three birdies in his first nine holes to move to eight-under.
Australian Brad Kennedy has also had a productive morning, reeling off five birdies on the back nine at Millbrook, including three in a row, for an outstanding 31 to be six-under.
Fellow Australian Aaron Pike has produced a back nine 31 at The Hills, with three birdies and an eagle, to move to five-under.