Olin Browne, Bo Van Pelt, Todd Fischer, Brett Quigley, Patrick Sheehan, Brian Kortan, Robert Gamez and Danny Briggs sit atop the leaderboard at Brown Deer Park Golf Club.
The eight-way tie matched the PGA Tour record. The Honda Classic in 2000 also had eight people share the lead after the first 18.
Local favorite Jerry Kelly shot a 4-under-par 66 on Thursday. He was joined in a tie for ninth with fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Scott Verplank, 2002 PGA champion Rich Beem, Paul Azinger, Dan Forsman, Cameron Beckman, Wes Short, Jr., Craig Bowden, Kevin Muncrief and two-time champion Jeff Sluman.
Despite 62 players breaking par on Thursday, Brown Deer Park was not a pushover. The greens are firmer than in years past and the rough is high in some spots.
'Last year I remember the rough being up here, too,' Fischer said. 'But there's some spots here that you might need a Weed Eater to get out.'
Browne opened on the back nine Friday and parred his opening three holes. He sank a 45-foot birdie putt at the 13th, then holed one from 10 feet for birdie at No. 14.
Browne, who has only registered one top-10 in 2004, collected back-to-back birdies from inside 10 feet at 16 and 17. He parred his next nine holes until a birdie at his last brought him into the logjam in first.
Van Pelt and Quigley each tallied seven birdies and two bogeys in their rounds on Thursday.
Fischer, Sheehan and Gamez mixed six birdies with a bogey in the opening round, but Gamez's round was highlighted by some great play from the tall grass.
Gamez missed the green at the par-3 14th, but chipped in for birdie from 30 feet. He also missed the short grass at No. 18 and knocked his second shot into birdie range. Gamez missed the birdie putt that would have given him the lead, but Gamez knows what it takes to win at Brown Deer Park.
'It's a very fair course,' said Gamez, whose last victory on tour came 14 years ago. 'You just have to hit the fairways and get it on the green.'
Defending champion Kenny Perry opened with a 1-under-par 69.