Teeing off in the morning field, Rankin fired 7-under 65 in the first round of the two day tournament.
His score was looking untouchable until Adam Stephens joined him on the number late in the day.
The pair leads by one shot from Ryan Haller who could have been leading if it weren't for a cold putter. The Queenslander missed six putts from inside eight feet during his round.
"I am not quite sure what the deal is here at Yamba. I enjoy the layout, it suits my eye and I guess they're the main reasons I play well here each year," said Rankin.
"My results haven't been what I would like over the past few months, but the hard work that I've been putting in is really paying off."
"I am really looking forward to tomorrow and I am sure it will be a good battle with Adam and Ryan."
The shot of the day belonged to Matt Field who, thanks to a perfectly executed 8 iron, aced the 132m par-3 12th hole.
Headlines at a glance
- Blyth hangs tough to win in New Caledonia 24.09.2016
- Blyth wins the South Pacific Open in a playoff 24.09.2016
- Fiji International continues to lure top players 24.09.2016
- Friendly showdown set for South Pacific Open 23.09.2016
- BLOG: Matt Guyatt looking to go scuba diving 23.09.2016
- Who’s who at the Fiji International 23.09.2016
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South Pacific Open
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