Former champion Cam Davis has lit up The Lakes to capture the Australian Open clubhouse lead with a storming first-round nine-under 63.
Taking full advantage of the perfect morning scoring conditions, Davis ominously ripped through his opening nine holes in six under and picked up three more birdies to come home in a blazing start.
The magical round would have equalled John Senden's course record but wasn'r recognised after officials opted for preferred lies following Wednesday night's heavy rain.
The US PGA Tour star was two strokes in front of American Patrick Rodgers, who still had three holes to play, with Scot Grant Forrest, at six under after recording a 65 at The Australian, his closest pursuer also safely in the clubhouse.
Pre-tournament fancy Min Woo Lee opened with a five-under 66 to be just four shots behind, while superstar Cameron Smith settled for a 70 in his first round since missing the cut at last week's Australian PGA Championship.
But the morning belonged to Davis.
After teeing off from the 10th hole, the world No.43 collected four birdies and a brilliant eagle three at the short but treacherous par-5 14th to set the tone.
He made more birdies on the fourth, seventh and eighth holes but was furious at missing a short putt at the last that would have vaulted the 28-year-old to 10 under.
The hot start comes six years after Davis won the 2017 Open at The Australian Golf Club next door, where he will play his final three rounds, assuming he makes the halfway cut on Friday.
Looking to complete the prestigious Australian PGA Championship and Open double, Lee reached the turn in three under but it was anything but smooth going.
He needed a chip-in to save par on the par-5 11th after driving into a fairway bunker, before duffing his devilish third shot into another trap from where he holed out to the roars of approval from the huge crowd following the marquee morning group.
After also starting on the back nine, Lee picked up his first birdie of the day on the 13th. He followed up with another on 14, added a third on 18 before saving par with a sumptuous sand shot to within a few centimetres.
Paired with Lee, Smith overcame some front-nine wobbles to stay in the tournament after his shocker at Royal Queensland.
The 2022 British Open champion hit two balls in the water - one right with his approach on the 11th and one left off the tee on the 14th - but scrambled for pars on both occasions.
But Smith couldn't get up and down from the bunker on the par-3 18th amid concerns the world No.20 and highest-ranked player in the 156-strong field could be headed for another premature departure.
Smith steadied though on his back nine to at least finish under par.
Defending champion Adrian Meronk, from Poland, and former world No.1 Adam Scott were among the big names with afternoon tee times at The Australian.
Australian Associated Press