Ian Poulter put world number one Luke Donald in the shade to seize the lead after the opening round of the 2011 JBWere Australian Masters.
Poulter fired a six-under-par 65 at Victoria Golf Club to gain a one-stroke advantage over local hopeful Ashley Hall.
Peter Lonard, Jarrod Lyle and Matthew Giles were among six players on 67, one shot clear of Rod Pampling and Richard Green and two ahead of Donald.
Australian Greg Chalmers, looking to add another trophy after his recent Australian Open and Australian PGA titles, matched Donald's 69, while defending champion Stuart Appleby returned a 70 after deciding only at the last minute that he was fit to play.
Nathan Green's 69 included the shot of the day when he holed his second from the fairway for eagle at the par-four third.
Matteo Manassero struggled with the afternoon breeze to record a 76.
Decked out in lilac tartan trousers, lilac sweater and matching lilac shoes, Poulter dropped a shot at his second hole, the 11th, before picking up seven birdies for his 65.
Poulter's more highly-fancied fellow Englishman Donald was disappointed with his short game.
"I hit it quite well on the back nine but (on) my front nine just made no putts," said Donald.
"Two birdies, no bogies could have been a lot worse, could have been a little bit better, but it's something to build on."
The unheralded Hall, 794th in the world rankings, began on the back nine and raced to the turn in 29, including five birdies and an eagle three at the short par-five 18th.
The 28-year-old winner of the 2009 Victorian Open had John Wade's eight-year-old course record of 63 in his sights before stumbling towards the end of his round.
He double-bogeyed the eighth hole after leaving his second shot in the bunker.
"Through 10 holes it could have been quite amazing really," said Hall.
Appleby had been a doubt with a chronic back injury and played with a back brace clearly visible under his black shirt.
He worked for an hour on the putting green and practice range under the supervision of his coach Steve Bann and a physiotherapist before declaring himself ready to "give it a crack".
The 40-year-old managed to shrug off similar injury concerns 12 months ago to win the Australian Masters by one stroke from Adam Bland.