IRELAND'S Fergal O'Brien struck back from a two-frame deficit to roll to an emphatic victory in Monday's start to the $500,000 Australian Snooker Goldfields Open in Bendigo.
After opponent Mark Allen won the opening two frames, 68-60 and 83-43, O'Brien then potted the reds and coloured with stunning regularity.
A streak of five consecutive frames included breaks of 74, 72, 103 and 72 in play at Bendigo Stadium.
In round two, O'Brien faces Matthew Stevens.
The first-round clash between Stevens and Luca Brecel was locked at three-all.
A first-frame win of 70-26 by Stevens included a break of 64.
Stevens won the next 60-11, before a break of 99 by Brecel to win frame three.
The next ended in a 70-60 win for Stevens before Brecel tied the contest following 77-0 and 75-30 victories.
In a contest where nerve and skill are paramount, Stevens racked up 63-21 and 59-52 wins to stay in title race.
Round one included a 5-3 win for Robert Milkins against Liang Wenbo.
It was 3-1 in favour of Milkins after he started the contest with breaks of 94 and 53.
Wins by Wenbo included a break of 83 to take out frame three and later 67-8 and 79-39 wins before Milkins stitched up the contest, 46-39, in frame eight.
Next up for Milkins will be John Higgins.
In Monday night's battle, Higgins fought from 3-2 down to win 5-3 against Tom Ford.
After winning the opening two frames, Mark Joyce was under pressure from Ryan Day.
A 94-0 victory by Day in frame three included a break of 75.
Day won the next two frames, 71-12 and 82-39, before Joyce ruled the next two, 87-6 and 89-12.
Frame eight was a 94-0 victory for Joyce to win the best-of-nine frames duel.
In Monday night's play, Ricky Walden scored a 5-0 win against Marcus Campbell.
Play on Tuesday begins at 11.30am when Stuart Bingham takes on Scott Donaldson, O'Brien plays Stevens, Mark Davis faces Dominic Dale, and Xiao Guodong pits his skill against Liam Highfield.
Matches in the night session from 7pm are Milkins against Higgins or Ford, and Stephen Maguire against Jamie Jones.
The campaign for the tournament's No. 1 seed, Australia's Neil Robertson does not begin until 7pm on Wednesday.
Robertson's arrival in Bendigo was delayed following the weekend's triumph at the Wuxi Classic in China.
Robertson fought from 9-8 down against Joe Perry to win the last two frames, 87 and 78.
The Wuxi Classic is the 10th ranking title of Robertson’s career.