Zach Johnson carded a flawless six-under-par 64 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Fort Worth in Texas on Thursday.
Johnson gave glimpse of what was to come by sinking a 40-foot birdie putt on his first hole - the 10th - and after blasting from a greenside bunker to save par at 12, he tamed the gusty wind that blew through the oaks of Hogan's Alley to fire four straight birdies.
Johnson, who has made the cut in all 12 tournaments he has played this season, hasn't won since the Colonial two years ago.
Johnson said: "I got off to a good start, just hit some quality shots. I didn't put myself ever in a position that was too worrisome.
"I kept the golf course in front me. I attacked when I could attack. I had a couple of nice saves when I needed it. ... I've got zero complaints."
Jason Dufner, the Byron Nelson Championship winner Sunday, is a stroke back along with tour rookie Harris English, Tom Gillis and Kyle Reifers.
Dufner started with three birdies and went to five under after a 10-foot birdie at the eighth but then carded two bogeys in three holes.
English, a former Walker Cup player, played his first full round at Colonial just days after he qualified for the Open with two fine rounds at Gleneagles.
He said: "Three bogey-free rounds I have had in a row, which I've never done.
"I'm playing solid golf and not really getting out of position. I'm getting my putter going. I'm hitting it to 15 or 20 feet a lot and seemed to be making a good many of those. It's just been good."
Sergio Garcia, the 2001 Colonial champion, shot a 66 to match Chris DiMarco, Tommy Gainey and Andres Romero.
Garcia had an eagle three at the 558-yard first hole which moved him to five under through 10 holes.
Garcia, without a win on the PGA tour for four years, had a bogey at three but saved par out of bunkers on his closing two holes.
Defending champion David Toms, in the group with Johnson and Garcia, had only one birdie in an opening 74.
First-round collated scores, Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas, United States of America
(USA unless stated, par 70):
64 Zach Johnson (USA)
65 Jason Dufner (USA), Kyle Reifers (USA), Tom Gillis (USA), Harris English (USA)
66 Andres Romero (Arg), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Chris Di Marco (USA), Tommy Gainey (USA)
67 Brendon De Jonge (USA), Brandt Jobe (USA), Roberto Castro (USA), Ryan Moore (USA), Daniel Summerhays (USA)
68 Charlie Wi (Kor), Martin Flores (USA), Ryan Palmer (USA), Ken Duke (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA)
69 Charley Hoffman (USA), Pat Perez (USA), Chris Stroud (USA), John Senden (Aus), Greg Owen (Eng), Blake Adams (USA), Hunter Mahan (USA), Justin Leonard (USA), Michael Thompson (USA), Jim Furyk (USA), Bo Van Pelt (USA)
70 Seung-yul Noh (Kor), Gary Christian (Eng), Gary Woodland (USA), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Heath Slocum (USA), John Daly (USA), Vijay Singh (Fij), Ben Crane (USA), Jason Bohn (USA), Sung Kang (Kor), Greg Chalmers (Aus), William McGirt (USA), Kevin Chappell (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Brendon Todd (USA), Sang-moon Bae (Kor), John Huh (Kor), Tim Clark (Rsa), Carl Pettersson (Swe), D.J. Trahan (USA), Josh Teater (USA)
71 Chris Kirk (USA), Nick Watney (USA), Bud Cauley (USA), Jeff Overton (USA), David Hearn (Can), Kelly Kraft (USA), John Mallinger (USA), Chad Campbell (USA), David Mathis (USA), Hunter Haas (USA), Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Bobby Gates (USA), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Mark Wilson (USA), Billy Hurley III (USA), Aaron Baddeley (Aus), J J Henry (USA), Corey Pavin (USA)
72 Spencer Levin (USA), Scott Stallings (USA), Billy Mayfair (USA), Harrison Frazar (USA), James Driscoll (USA), Graham Delaet (Can), Edward Loar (USA), Bob Estes (USA), Bill Haas (USA), Marc Leishman (Aus), Boo Weekley (USA), Henrik Stenson (Swe), Bryce Molder (USA), Jerry Kelly (USA), Kyle Stanley (USA), Erik Compton (USA), Tim Herron (USA), Will Claxton (USA), Matt Kuchar (USA), J.J Killeen (USA), Jeff Maggert (USA), John Rollins (USA), George McNeill (USA), Jonathan Byrd (USA)
73 Kris Blanks (USA), Rodney Pampling (Aus), Fulton Allem (Rsa), Steve Flesch (USA), Jonas Blixt (Swe), Chez Reavie (USA), Kevin Streelman (USA), Matthew Every (USA), Y.E. Yang (Kor)
74 Vaughn Taylor (USA), Brian Gay (USA), Colt Knost (USA), Lucas Glover (USA), David Toms (USA), Ricky Barnes (USA), Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Kevin Stadler (USA), Peter Uihlein (USA)
75 Robert Allenby (Aus), Miguel Angel Carballo (Arg), Davis Love III (USA), Michael Bradley (USA), Mark Anderson (USA), Cameron Tringale (USA)
76 Dicky Pride (USA), Brian Harman (USA), Johnson Wagner (USA)
78 Keith Clearwater (USA)
WD: Brian Davis (Eng) 76