Japan’s Kodai Ichihara was two strokes behind the leading trio, while Australians Ashley Hall and Maverick Antcliff were among four golfers sharing fifth on five under.
Murray burst into the limelight last October when he led from start to finish to clinch the WA Open as an amateur.
A week later, he made another sizzling start to lead the Queensland Open, shooting a course-record 65 at the Brisbane Golf Club.
The Wodonga product surprised himself with his latest batch of early fireworks, having struggled to get the blood flowing on a chilly South Island morning.
«I hit about five balls and I was like, ‘I’m not going to get warm’, and so I just sat in the pro shop and waited until the sun came out, hit a couple of putts and off I went,» Murray said.
«I do that back at home when I’m just playing with my mates so I suppose I might have to do that more often.»
Everything seemed to click from that point for Murray, who didn’t miss a green in regulation.
It continues a breakthrough summer which featured a fourth-placing at the Asian Tour’s qualifying school and a series of solid returns on the Australian circuit.
Tournament favourite, New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, was three under in a tie for 25th.
Australians have won six of past seven NZ titles, including defending champion Daniel Nisbet, coming off victory at last week’s Queensland PGA. He shot one under.
Of the three former major winners in the field, Kiwi Michael Campell is best-placed, even with the card, in his first professional tournament for six years.
Australian Geoff Ogilvy and Korean YE Yang sit a stroke behind Campbell.