Sergio Garcia was just a shot off the early lead as the Australian PGA Championship got under way in wet conditions at RACV Royal Pines Resort.
The Spaniard has three wins so far in 2017 including a brilliant first Major Championship at the Masters Tournament and was looking to end the calendar year in style.
He turned in 34 to sit at two under alongside Australian Greg Chalmers and Welshman Stuart Manley, a shot behind Michael Sim.
Garcia's Australian playing partners Wade Ormsby and Adam Scott were then in a group of 17 players at one under, with two short rain delays disrupting proceedings on the Gold Coast.
Australian Sim has just one top ten on the European Tour at the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic but has already won in Queensland this season on the PGA Tour of Australasia at the Isuzu Queensland Open.
He made birdies on the fifth, seventh and eighth to take the early lead.
Starting on the tenth, Garcia rolled in a 15-footer for birdie on the 11th but any chance of getting some early momentum was halted as play was delayed for 20 minutes due to flooded greens with the marquee group on the 12th.
The suspension proved no distraction for last week's winner Ormsby who made a 15-foot putt of his own to also get into red numbers, with Scott making it back-to-back birdies to get to two under.
Garcia then went over the green with his second on the par five 15th but made a smart up-and-down to also get to two under.
Scott fell out of the lead with a double-bogey after finding the water on the 16th but hit back with a birdie on the 18th.
Manley had birdies on the second and fifth in his first nine holes, while Chalmers had gains on the tenth and 16th in his opening seven.
Finn Mikko Ilonen, German Alexander Knappe, three-time European Tour winner Marcus Fraser and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir were among those at one under.
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