England's Grant Hamerton carded a 63 containing eight birdies to lead after the first round of the PGA of Austria Masters at Eichenheim near Kitzbuhel.
The Manchester-based pro made the perfect start, keeping a bogey off his card as he went out in 31 and needed just 32 strokes to come home. But it couldn't count as a course record as preferred lies were in operation.
Hamerton, who has already tasted victory this summer in the DEXIA-BIL Luxembourg Open, is currently 13th on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit. And with the leading 15 gaining their card at the end of the season, he needs a
high finish this week to consolidate his position.
He is two shots ahead of Frankie Young, an Austrian based English professional, and Marcel Siem from Germany.
With 60 of the field of 144 beating par, there is a crowded leaderboard, underlined by the fact that five players went round in 66. Among them is Sweden's Magnus Persson, beaten in a play off by Jamie Donaldson for the Telia Grand Prix two weeks ago, and Frenchman Marc Pendaries, another to lose a playoff this year.
Joining them is Marcello Santi from Italy and two more Englishmen, Charles Challen and Chris Gane. Gane must feel at home in Austria as the last time he was in the country he won the Austrian Open at Murhof in June.
Several players are seeking good performances this week to boost their chances of finishing in the top 15. Andre Bossert, from Switzerland, currently 17th, returned 68, as did Sweden's Marten Olander, currently 24th.
The English pair of Benn Barham and Philip Golding, 14th and 15th respectively, are among a large group on 69. But another Scotland's Greig Hutcheon, currently ninth, slipped to a 75, as did Spain's Jesus Maria Arruti.
Two more players found their part in the tournament was brief. Sweden's Tony Edmund was disqualified for signing for a wrong score after failing to add two penalty shots after wrongly playing from a sensitive area on the seventh hole.
Then Scotland's Alan McLean, using a set of borrowed clubs after his own failed to arrive in Austria, retired after failing to come to terms with the substitute version.