Shane Gurnett is positioned strongly after the first round of Port Fairy Golf Club Championships

STRONG START: Port Fairy golf club player Shane Gurnett chipping onto 17th hole at the course. Gurnett leads the club championship.
STRONG START: Port Fairy golf club player Shane Gurnett chipping onto 17th hole at the course. Gurnett leads the club championship.

DEFENDING champion Shane Gurnett is positioned strongly after the first round of the Port Fairy Golf Club Championships, shooting 76 in trying conditions to lead a talent-laden chasing pack.

Gurnett kept a lid on his expectations but revealed he was pleased to be in the mix.

He leads Chris Dunn (78), Chris Johnston and Scott Boschen (79) at the conclusion of the first round.

“There’s an awfully long way to go, but I was just happy to be in contention. We’ll see how I go over the next couple of rounds,” Gurnett told The Standard.

“I’m playing against guys who are capable of shooting really low scores. It’s going to be very competitive.”

Gurnett, a Port Fairy team pennant captain, said consistent golf was the key across the next three rounds.

The second and third rounds of the club championship will be spread across next Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s important for me to get the ball off the tee to avoid those big scores. They can ruin your card,” Gurnett said.

“If you can have a bogey as your worst you’ll be thereabouts.”

Youngster Noah Best remains in the hunt after shooting 82, while Glen Mahony (80), Kevin Leddin (80), Rex Grady (81) and Brendan Rix (82) are also among the leaders.