Sweden's Joel Sjoholm shot an eight-under 64 to move into a one-shot lead after the first round of the BMW Italian Open in Turin.
The 27-year-old from Gothenburg picked up eight birdies in a bogey-free round to move a shot clear of England's Lee Slattery.
Noted principally for always playing in plus-fours, Sjoholm has had two top 10s in 26 starts this year and is 90th in the Race to Dubai.
A third-place finish at the Sicilian Open in March last year is Sjoholm's best career finish on the tour, but that could be surpassed on Sunday if the putts continue to drop.
Sjoholm began with two birdies in the first three holes and reached the turn in 32 before picking up shots at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 18th on the way home.
"Normally when I score well, I have to putt well," the Swede told the European Tour's website. "The last few weeks I've putted quite poorly and missed the cut by one stroke. Both times I felt like I had a good chance to make the cut, but you have to forget and keep moving on.
"I hit it basically everywhere. I was in the woods a lot and made some funny birdies today. It was a big, fighting 64 rather than a solid 64, but it's great fun to be eight under.
"I know that I have to play better golf tomorrow; I'm not going to make these sort of birdies four rounds in a row."
Former European PGA champion and Ryder Cup star David Howell is one of seven players in a group at six-under, two shots off the early pace.
Defending champion Robert Rock opened with a 70, while Francesco Molinari's 68 was the best score of those heading to Medinah in a fortnight's time.
The 2006 winner of this event was two shots better than his Ryder Cup teammate and playing partner Martin Kaymer, with wildcard pick Nicolas Colsaerts a shot further back on one under.
Molinari's brother Edoardo made his return after three months out following wrist surgery and shot a two-under 70 in his native Turin.
He said: "The wrist is feeling good. I'm very happy with it. There is absolutely no pain at all.
"It's an okay start. I was very rusty. I hit the ball quite poorly to be honest, but it's more than two months since I last played in competition. It's going to be a long way back to the top but I'll get there."