David Horsey surprised even himself by claiming the first round lead at the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.
The Englishman carded a nine under par 61 to lead Scotland's Stephen Gallacher by a shot at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
Horsey described his own recent form as “rubbish” after missing the cut on his first two starts of the season.
But there was nothing rubbish about his opening round which included nine birdies, seven of which came in a spectacular inward 28.
“It's a shock actually,” said Horsey, whose highlights included birdies from 30 feet on the sixth and 12th.
“I've been playing rubbish the last couple weeks. Didn't feel like I controlled my ball the first two events.
“I had a conversation with a pal back home last night, talking a few things through and he suggested something that I work on away from the tournament.
“Knowing me, I thought, well, can't get any worse, so I may as well try it and here we are.
“It's really just how my body is moving - quite sort of technical really. It's nice to have a feel you can wake up and pick up straight away.
“I didn't really feel like I missed many shots. I holed a couple of nice, lengthy putts as well and it all adds up to 61.”
Two of Gallacher's four European Tour titles have come in the Middle East but the Scot endured a difficult 2020 campaign as he finished 173rd in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.
“I actually hit it really close to the pin today which was good, and I managed to hole those sort of ten foot putts for birdie I had,” the former Ryder Cup player said after making ten birdies and two bogeys. “It was one of those just go on a roll and kept knocking them in.
“It was just draw a line in the sand for 2020. With everything that happened, the pandemic, my dad, losing friends, it was just one of those terrible years.
“I couldn't wait for 2021 to come really and get back to a bit of normal - back playing and back enjoying it.
“I worked hard in the winter in the gym and on my net in the house, and came out early and showed a bit of form early doors. 2020, just erase it from my memory and look forward now to 2021.”
Austria's Bernd Wiesberger sits third after shooting a 64, with U.S. Open Championship winner Bryson DeChambeau amongst those on five under.