Vijay Singh charged into a five-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the $5.5m (€4.2m) Mercedes Championship in Hawaii on Thursday.
Coming off a relatively ordinary 2006 season in which he won only once, Singh shot a four-under-par 69 at the Kapalua Plantation course.
“I came here prepared and felt good about my game,” said Singh, who is tied for the lead with KJ Choi, Stephen Ames, Brett Wetterich and Will MacKenzie.
Taming howling winds that gusted to more than 25 miles per hour, Singh reeled off six birdies as only 12 of the 34 players in the field broke par.
“I know the course pretty well, but this wind was something else,” Singh said. “If we had to play in this weather (regularly), I think I’d quit.
“I just went out with a positive vibe and said: ‘I’ve got to hit solid shots, pick a spot and hit it, and whatever the result is going to be, it’s going to be’.”
Singh has an excellent record at Kapalua, posting top-10 finishes in his past seven starts.
Choi also has enjoyed success, holding the course record at 11-under 62.
If the presence of Singh or Choi on the leaderboard surprised few, MacKenzie’s appearance raised a few eyebrows.
He qualified for this winners-only event by winning the Reno-Tahoe Open last August, a tournament played without the tour’s top players, on the same dates as a World Golf Championships event.
MacKenzie’s round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-five ninth, where he pitched in from 45 yards.
Stuart Appleby, seeking to become just the fourth player in tour history to win the same event four consecutive times, shot a steady 73.