Hugo Leon made a stunning start to his career as a fully-fledged European Tour Member as one of four players to equal the course record over the Beach course on day one of the ISPS Handa Vic Open.
The format this week sees the field tackle the Beach and the Creek courses at 13th Beach Golf Club, with men and women from four tours playing over the same layouts in separate tournaments for equal prize money.
That meant we had the rare occurrence of players equalling a course record but not holding the first-round lead, with Nick Flanagan carding a ten under 62 on the Creek to lead by two shots from Leon, Callum Shinkwin, James Anstiss and James Nitties, all of whom also equalled the Beach record.
American Kurt Kitayama and Australian Jason Scrivener also carded rounds of 64 on the Creek - where the course record is 61 - on a day of very low scoring in Geelong.
Leon had played just five European Tour events before coming through the Qualifying School in November and started his 2019 season with an eagle on the second before he added six birdies.
"It was good. It was a perfect shot, too," he said. "Beautiful way to start the year for me and then the round particularly. I holed out from 93 yards on two and then I proceeded to birdie four with a similar distance shot. Played very good from there on out.
"I took advantage of some opportunities. I got a couple of good breaks, especially on ten, I felt like that was a good turning point for my round today. It was a really, really solid round of golf."
Kitayama is 15th on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex after his victory at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita and was delighted to be at the right end of the leaderboard again.
"It was good, really solid," he said. "Just dropped one shot on the last there but overall I was happy I was able to get some scoring on the back nine there.
"A lot of opportunities on that Creek side, for sure. Just felt like I didn't take advantage of the front but I was able to make up for it on the back, which was good."