In the opening day of the three-day competition, the Rarotonga-based golfer, who has a handicap of two, was quick off the block and took command with some good shots.
Daniel Webb, who also plays with a handicap of two, was close behind him on two-over-par 72.
Royle Brogan (handicap six) finished third after day one on three-over-par 73 followed by Enoka Bishop and Ned Howard tied on 74.
Top favourite and defending champions William Howard was tied on 11th spot with nine-over-par 79 after Thursday’s outing.
The top ranked local golfer, who plays on a -2 handicap, is expected to fight his way back into the title race in the final round today.
In the open women’s competition, Tepua Russell took a two-shot lead after posting a nine-over-par 79 on day one.
Ake Unuka trailed by two strokes followed by Kurai Foster and Rotana Howard.
Favourites Rotana, who is the least handicap golfer in the women’s grade, and Foster were tied on 13-over-par 83 heading into yesterday’s round.
Rotana, who won the women’s title last year, is expected to put on a strong performance today.
The round two competition was still underway when this edition went to press yesterday.
The 54-hole tournament sponsored by Scotty’s Golf Pro Shop from Whitford in Auckland will end tonight with the prize giving function.
Over 90 entries were confirmed in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) sanctioned tournament.
Top amateurs golfers from both the Cook Islands and New Zealand are competing in this event to improve their rankings.
Junior and veterans division competition are also held in the Rarotonga Amateur Golf Open.