VICTORIAN Anthony Brown had to fire record-equalling 65 to emerge as the first round leader of the Isuzu Queensland Open at the Brookwater Golf Club.
Brown, who has endured a lean streak since finishing runner-up at the 2012 Australian PGA at Coolum, lipped-out for par on the 18th hole which would have given him a course record 64.
The 31-year-old completed his round in fading light denying Queensland amateur Kade McBride the honours after he posted a morning round of 66.
"I really had no expectation, '' said Brown.
"It's a tough course even without the wind...it is so penal.
"But I did almost everything right. I drove the ball well, gave myself chances on the greens and holed some nice putts.
"If you can make three birdies around here it's good. But I made a couple early today and that set the tone for the round.
"I birdied 12, chipped-in for eagle on the 13th to go seven-under and then made birdie on the 17th to go to eight-under. Unfortunately, I had a slight hiccup on the last.''
Brown's approach to the 18th caught the greenside bunker and his third shot finished 10-feet from the pin.
His putt lipped-out to cost him the outright course record.
Brown shot a 64 at Coolum during the 2012 Australian PA when he was second to young Victorian Daniel Popovic.
"It was great to have that result two years ago but sometimes it can go the other way and that is what happened to me,'' he said.
"When you don't perform your confidence drops and that can snowball..."
On a good day for the Victorians, experienced campaigners David Bransdon (67) and Scott Laycock (69) played well while South Australian Tom Bond also fired a 67.
"It's all about not shooting yourself in the foot on this golf course. You just can't go out and attack,'' said Bransdon.
"I didn't hit driver on the par-five holes which were into the wind and you had to go conservatively.''
Bransdon's solitary bogey came on the first hole when he hit the front of the green but fell back into a bunker.
"Overall it was a nice solid round of golf from tee to green,'' he said.
Laycock bogeyed the 18th hole after a consistent round which he believed could have been significantly lower.
"I had about half a dozen chances I didn't convert,'' he said.
"But I played nicely. The conditions probably suited me a bit with the wind and I could throw my approach shots up at the pins because the greens were damp."
Defending champion Nick Cullen was satisfied with his opening 71 but playing partner and last year's runner-up Peter O'Malley struggled with a 77.
"I felt like I played really well,'' said Cullen. "I enjoy the course and play it pretty conservatively.''