England’s Robert Coles was making the most of the last chance to secure a European Tour card for next season via The Race to Dubai as the ISPS HANDA Perth International began.
The 41 year old already has ten visits to The Qualifying School under his belt – four of them successful – and at 159th on The Race to Dubai needs to finish at least second on his own to stand a chance of climbing into the all-important top 110 at the end of the week.
Coles’ chances of doing so were boosted by five birdies and two bogeys in his first 11 holes as he raced to three under par and a share of the early lead.
He was joined on that mark by compatriot Sam Little and Australian pair Rohan Blizzard and Nick Cullen at Lake Karrinyup.
US Ryder Cup star and pre-tournament favourite Dustin Johnson was among those a shot further back, as well as two more players desperate to retain their cards in English pair Richard Finch and James Morrison.
Both former European Tour winners, Finch and Morrison started the week 136th and 138th on The Race to Dubai respectively, with Morrison needing to be in the top two and Finch the top three to trouble those on the bubble.
Defending champion Bo Van Pelt was one under par with four holes of his opening round remaining.