Australia's Nick O'Hern carded a flawless nine-under-par 62 to lead the Frys.com Open by three strokes at the end of day one.
With nine birdies and no bogeys, O'Hern equalled the CordeValle course record and established a three-shot cushion from early leader Jhonattan Vegas, Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts and Derek Ernst.
It was the perfect early statement in California for O'Hern - one man attempting to clinch a PGA Tour card for next season.
To qualify for membership without going to qualifying school, players must match the earnings of the player 125th on this year's money list.
Starting at the 10th, O'Hern - 144th on the money list after just one top-10 finish this season - claimed eight birdies in 11 holes from the 13th, then added another on his final hole, the ninth.
Belgian Colsaerts, who made such an impact as one of Jose Maria Olazabal's wild card picks at the Ryder Cup, entered the tournament 120th on the money list.
He too was bogey-free, carding six birdies for a share of second alongside Venezuela's Vegas and Ernst of the United States.
Behind them was a group of five players on five-under, including England's Greg Owen.
Scotland's Russell Knox was one-under for a share of 33rd, England's Brian Davis one-over in joint 72nd and his compatriot Gary Christian in 121st on five-over.
Defending champion Bryce Molder was in a tie for 50th after a level-par round of 71.