Min Woo Lee has led an afternoon charge to ensure Cameron Smith's thirst for a Sunday Australian PGA Championship showdown with Adam Scott won't be quenched easily.
Scott (five-under 66) held the clubhouse lead for most of the day and Smith finished two back after the pair teed off at 6am in front of hundreds of eager fans at Royal Queensland in Brisbane.
Lee and European tour veteran Jason Scrivener (six-under 65) eventually usurped the 2013 Masters champion before John Lyras - a leader for three days at this year's Vic Open - birdied his last hole to join them.
Brad Kennedy, Anthony Quayle and South Korean Jeunghun Wang finished five-under with Scott to ensure a clogged leaderboard ahead of Friday's second round.
Back after a three-year absence, hometown hero and world No.3 Smith shrugged off an "uncomfortable" first nine to manufacture four birdies and stay within touching distance of a red-hot Scott.
"Scotty was playing really nicely, he'd coming into some form the old fella and might be hard to chase down," Smith said.
"Yeah I'd like it (a final-round match-up), haven't done that yet with Scotty, it'd be epic.
"He's one of the best golfers ever, so it'd be a good one."
Don't forget about Lee though, the rising star nailing some long birdie putts early in his round before showcasing his mesmeric touch with back-to-back bunker shots to earn an overnight lead.
First he somehow dug his ball out of a steep greenside bunker on the par-three 17th, plonking it next to the hole despite little room to work with.
He made par there and then drilled a pitching wedge from a fairway bunker onto the 18th green and sunk the birdie putt.
"I didn't think it was too hard, but when you get up there and actually look at it, it's actually a very tough shot," he said of his par save on the 17th.
"One of the better chips I've done ... all year.
"(There were) a lot of momentum savers today and I capitalised on the next holes and made birdies.
Already a proven performer on the big stage, Lee said his motivation wouldn't be to take down Smith or Scott.
"My attitude the last few months has just been just to have fun," he said.
"Lots of families and kids out there and I love to show off and inspire little kids.
"I was one of those kids trying to get a ball or trying to get a high-five ... that was me not long ago."
Marc Leishman recovered from some early blunders in the sand - he bogeyed the fourth and fifth hole thanks to poor exits - to card a two-under 69, just missing a birdie putt on the 18th.
Defending champion Jed Morgan cut a frustrated figure early but finished one under, while Geoff Ogilvy (three under) played solidly.