Wellington - Andrew Dodt, Nick Cullen, Jarryd Felton and Ben Campbell mastered windy conditions to share a four-way lead at the Fiji International on Thursday.
The wind was already strong when Australia's Dodt, Cullen and Felton shot their five-under-par 67s in the morning, before New Zealander Campbell matched them in even tougher conditions in the afternoon.
"That was not easy," said Dodt, 32, who is yet to finish in the top 10 this European Tour season, and is seeking his first win since 2016.
"It was very tough, very windy, you had to control your ball, course management was a big factor. It was a really, really solid round.
"The last six months haven't been that great. I haven't been able to put four rounds together, I've put rounds together here and there, so today was a step in the right direction. That's one with three to go."
Four-time major-winner Ernie Els was level par after carding four birdies and four bogeys, while home favourite Vijay Singh was struggling at four over.