Dean Burmester carded a nine under par first round at Walton Heath to lead U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at the half-way stage.
The South African, playing his first round on the New Course, made the turn four under par and carded five more birdies on the back nine, including three on his last three holes.
He finished his first round two strokes ahead of England’s Lee Slattery and Masahiro Kawamura of Japan, who carded seven under par first rounds.
“I felt really fresh when I got here this morning,” said Slattery. “I remember coming here on the back of a good result in Italy – I was so tired coming into this. Today, I’ve got around in three hours which was a bonus.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been playing that bad recently. But when your confidence is a little bit low and you’re missing cuts by one stroke it does get frustrating. It was about getting through to the match play last week, and I concerned myself too much with that rather than playing golf.
“It would be nice to get back to the U.S. Open, especially at Pebble Beach – that’s why the entry list here is so strong.”
Rhys Enoch, of Wales, carded a six under par first round which included an eagle on the 16th hole as he heads into his second round on the Old Course.
“We had about five or six holes with less wind, which was nice starting out in,” said Enoch. “I finished really strong. I holed a 45-footer for eagle on 16 to jump to six under and I should have birdied the last two as well.
“It’s been exciting for the last week just thinking about the chance of getting to Pebble Beach, so I’m trying to do my best to not think about it and take it one at a time.”
111 competitors started the day at Walton Heath, competing for 14 places in this year’s U.S. Open.