South Australian Max McCardle and New South Welshman Neven Basic have set the early pace playing in the same group at the Northern Territory PGA Championship.

Max McCardleTeeing off in the morning field the pair took advantage of the calm conditions to post rounds of 5-under 66 at Palmerston Golf Course.

“It was nice to get out on a pristine morning and get a score away,” said McCardle.

“There is a bit of wind up now, but it was pretty calm early. It was nice and warm; it has been pretty cold in Adelaide so it’s nice to get up in the warmth.”

A regular visitor to the Top End, McCardle utilised his course knowledge making the most of the opportunities that came his way.

“I have some relatives here on my fiancĂ©s side; we spend a fair bit of time up here through the year, about two or three weeks.

“I am quite familiar with the course; I have played here quite a lot over the past six years. I have played it in all different conditions and have different strategies to try and attack the course,” added McCardle, who described his round as boring.

“I made a really good birdie on three which I think is one of the tougher holes, so I probably stole one there.

“I just plodded my way around, hit some fairways and greens, didn’t do too much wrong.

“I hit it real close on 12, within a couple of inches, so that was probably the highlight. It was a well controlled round and I was happy to capitalise on the opportunities that I had.”

While Basic was making birdies on course this morning, he started his week in the Northern Territory by catching fish.

“I actually ticked something off my bucket list which was to catch a mulloway, a jewfish, I managed to get two of them so it just set me up for a really good week,” said Basic.

“It wasn’t that relaxing, we caught some really big jewfish, spotted travelley and a few sharks. It was actually quite hard work and a few of the boys were exhausted after it. I loved it.”

After a slow start to his round, Basic was back on track with a birdie at the par-4 6th hole and rode the momentum for the rest of the round.

“I finished birdie, birdie which is always nice. I got off to a bit of a dodgy start, I was 1-over after three and I started hitting some good shots and making some putts,” added Basic.

“I played with Max, he played great and had 5-under as well so we carried the momentum through.

“I just stayed patient, there are plenty of birdies out there but also bogeys so you need to hit good shots and I took advantage of them.”