Melbourne - Adam Scott said he felt he was mastering the short putter after he fired a bogey-free seven-under 64 to lead the Australian Masters at Huntingdale in Melbourne on Thursday.
Scott revelled in benign morning conditions to lead by a stroke over fellow Australian Daniel Fox, who closed with five straight birdies in a round of 65.
Last month Scott changed back to a short putter ahead of a January 1 ban on the type of anchored putters he used to win the 2013 US Masters at Augusta.
Five of Scott's seven birdies came on his back nine when the putts started to drop.
"This time when I decided to use it, I committed that this is what I'm going to do and I'm going to putt like this and work at it and try to be the best putter in the world, like I try to be in every aspect of the game," the world No.12 said after his round.
"The only way to go about it and compete at a high level is commit to something. I feel like it's in a good spot. I've putted well all the weeks that I've used it."
Scott won the Australian Masters in 2012 and 2013 but has never donned the gold jacket at the tournament's traditional home at par-71 Huntingdale.
"It's a dream start and hopefully something to build on from here," he said.
The sole non-Australian in the top 17 was American amateur Bryson DeChambeau, who hit back after a poor start to card a two-under 69 playing in the same group as Scott.
Scores after the opening round of the Australian Masters at the par-71 Huntingdale golf course in Melbourne on Thursday (Australia unless noted):
64 - Adam Scott
65 - Daniel Fox
67 - Peter Wilson, Matthew Stieger, Mathew Goggin
68 - Alistair Presnell, Andrew Evans
69 - Matthew Guyatt, Neven Basic, Nick Gillespie (NZL), Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Marcus Cain, Peter Fowler, Stephen Leaney, David McKenzie, John Senden, Zach Murray
70 - Pan Cheng-Tsung (TPE), Adam Stephens, Peter Senior, Kieran Muir (NZL), Christopher Thorn, Stephen Allan, Charles Wright, George McNeill (USA), Gareth Paddison (NZL), Nick O'Hern
71 - Ryan Haller, Jamie Hook, Michael Sim, Ashley Hall, Ben Eccles, Josh Younger, Kieran Pratt, Cameron Smith, Wade Ormsby, Rory Bourke, Mitchell A. Brown, Max McCardle, Brett Rankin, Nathan Holman, Matthew Millar, Jared Pender (NZL), Damien Jordan
74 - David Klein (GER)
75 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL)
79 - Petr Dedek (CZE)