Nate Lashley defied his lowly world ranking and made the most of his late addition to the Rocket Mortgage Classic field as he grabbed a one-shot lead after the first round at the Detroit Golf Club on Thursday.
The American World No.353, who failed to qualify for the inaugural tournament on Monday but was added to the field as an alternate, enjoyed a bogey-free, career-best nine-under 63.
"When you're first alternate it's not a whole lot of fun, that feeling of only missing getting in the event by a spot, by one person," Lashley said.
"We'll see how it goes tomorrow. Hopefully I can go out there and play like today, play relaxed golf and have some fun."
Curtis Luck was the best of the Australian contingent, shooting a five-under-par 67 to be tied 24th.
Next best Australians are Rod Pampling and Cameron Smith, both three behind Luck.
Lashley, who earned his PGA Tour card for the first time in 2018, went out early and made four birdies on the front nine and finished in style with five birdies over the final six holes.
RIGHT: Luck opened with 67 to share 24th place. PHOTO: Chris Graythen/Getty Images.
That was enough to leave him one shot clear of compatriots Ryan Armour and Nick Watney. A group of seven that included Charles Howell III and Stewart Cink were a further shot back.
"Obviously I made a lot of putts," Lashley said. "I putted well, I drove it pretty well. I hit it really well on the back nine, but at nine-under you're kind of doing everything well."
US Open champion Gary Woodland, in his first event since picking up his maiden major title, mixed six bogies with five birdies en route to a one-over-par 73 that left him 10 back of the first-round leader.
Among the other notables in the field were twice Masters winner Bubba Watson and World No.14 Rickie Fowler, who were five shots back of the leader after matching 68s.
World No.2 Dustin Johnson, the highest-ranked player in the field, had a roller-coaster start to his round and was two-over through 11 holes but managed three birdies the rest of the way for a one-under-par 71.