Rumford, the defending champion, finished his opening round at eight-under par, two shots ahead of former World No.1 Lee Westwood.

Malaysian Nicholas Fung loomed dangerously at six-under with three holes to play while West Australian Jason Scrivener shot a promising five-under 67.

Rumford led the World Super 6 Perth from start to finish last year, dominating in the opening three rounds of stroke play before blitzing the field in the final round match play format.

Playing in the same group as Rumford, Westwood at one stage briefly held the lead on his own on Thursday. PHOTO: Getty Images/Paul Kane.

The 40-year-old picked up where he left off on Thursday, making 10 birdies and just two bogeys in a sizzling round.

“There seems to be some sort of home-course advantage,” he said.

“I just think some golf courses suit your eye and others don't.

“Generally you'll find as a trend that a lot of players go back to the same venue and play well and this is one of them for me.”

After three rounds of traditional stroke play, the top 24 players will qualify for the final-round match play component, where they will go head-to-head in a series of six-hole shootouts.

After starting his day with an eagle two at his first hole of the day Andrew 'Beef' Johnston finished one-ever, which included a nine at the 2nd. PHOTO: PGA of Australia.

Rumford said his early lead meant little, with the top 24 the goal.

The top eight players after three rounds earn a bye in the first stage of match play.

“I'm inside the top 24 and that's my only focus, to finish inside that number,” Rumford said.

“Whether I lead the qualifying again, that would be a nice bonus but it's not my priority this week.”

Westwood, who missed the cut in his first two tournaments of the year before finishing tied for 11th in Malaysia last week, was content with his opening round in Perth.

“I don't think this is a tournament where you want to be playing catch up really,” he said.

“You want to get yourself in the mix and try and cruise through the second and third days and get into that top 24.”

Scrivener was happy with his round but felt he could have joined Rumford at eight-under if some things went his way.

“It was a funny day. I got off to a slow start. I saw what Brett was doing up front, which made it feel even worse,” Scrivener said.

“But happy with it. It was as easy as it's ever going to play out here.”

- Justin Chadwick, Australian Associated Press