At a low ebb after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to start his season, David Horsey phoned a friend for some help on the eve of his first round at the Saudi International.
The advice worked wonders on Thursday as Horsey upstaged what may prove one of the strongest fields in any European Tour event all year as he shot a course record-tying nine-under 61.
The Englishman, who's ranked 282 in the world, even put luminaries like Bryson DeChambeau, with his 65, and Dustin Johnson (67) in the shade, recording seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch on the back nine.
The Australian challenge at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club started tamely, though, with only Min Woo Lee managing to break par with his one-under 69 that left him in joint 49th.
Horsey surprised even himself, getting to the par-5 18th needing an eagle for only the second ever 59 in the Tour's history but he couldn't reach the green in two, and wound up with a par to tie Johnson's leading score from 2019.
"It's a shock, actually," Horsey said. "I've been playing rubbish the last couple of weeks.
"Sort of 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.
"I thought, 'Well, can't get any worse, so I may as well try it,' and here we are."
"It's a shock, actually. I've been playing rubbish the last couple of weeks." – David Horsey
The advice, given by a 22-year-old club pro whom Horsey has been mentoring back in England, was "about how my body is moving," Horsey said.
"It's nice to have a feel you can wake up and pick it up straight away," said Horsey, who is seeking his fifth win on the European Tour and first since 2015.
The World No.1 Johnson, winner of the inaugural Saudi International two years ago, is one of four top-10 players at the tournament and opened with a bogey-free round to be six shots off the lead.
DeChambeau said he reined in his distance off the tee because he was spraying his drives but was still in a six-way tie for fourth on five under.
Stephen Gallacher birdied five of his last six holes for a 62 and was one shot behind Horsey.
A further stroke back, in outright third, was Bernd Wiesberger after a bogey-free 64.
After a calm morning at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, the wind picked up and made for much tougher playing conditions for the afternoon starters.
They included Patrick Reed, who shot 69 coming off a win at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines that saw him at the centre of a rules controversy.
One later group featured the Australian duo of Lucas Herbert and Jason Scrivener but neither had a great day.
Herbert bogeyed the last two holes to end up level par while Scrivener, who was second at the Abu Dhabi Championship a fortnight ago, limped to a five-over 75.
Lee, younger brother of LPGA Tour star Minjee Lee, made birdie at the last to end at one under while Wade Ormsby and Scott Hend both shot one-over-par 71s.