BENDIGO golfers Andrew Martin and Kris Mueck made a strong start to the South Pacific Open in Noumea.
Martin fired a three-under par 68 in Thursday's opening round to be in a tie for 10th, six shots behind joint leaders Michael Wright and Theodore Coroneo.
Mueck is a further shot back after opening the tournament with a two-under par 69.
Martin opened his round brilliantly, with a birdie on the first hole.
A bogey on the par-five fifth saw him drop back to even-par, but he responded strongly with birdies on the sixth, eighth and 12th to move to three-under par.
A bogey on the par-three 13th threatened to stop his momentum, but a birdie on the par-five 14th ensured the Neangar Park Golf Club member would finish in the top 10 after day one.
Mueck's round consisted of four birdies and two bogeys.
After making the turn at one-under par, back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th saw him move into the top 10.
However, a bogey on the par-four 17th saw Mueck drop back to two-under par.
Leaders Wright and Coroneo set a new course record of 62 in their sizzling start to the tournament at Tina Golf Club.
Wright made seven birdies and holed out for an eagle two on the par-four 15th.
Coroneo, who started his round on the 10th hole, birdied five of his first seven holes.
He went on to make four more birdies in his bogey-free round.