He matched the course record at Derrick Golf and Winter Club on Thursday, an unexpected score. Fukushima's best finish in 2004 was a tie for 54th and he broke 70 only once.
'The putts were falling today, and that really hasn't happened this year,' admitted Fukushima. 'It has been an extremely frustrating year for me. I've been hitting the ball well enough, but I just can't seem to score. Today was really the first time it all came together.'
Nick Davey, Matt McQuillan and Todd Tanner share second place at 6-under 65.
Fukushima reached 8 under par for the tournament with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 16th. His tee ball looked like it hit the stick at the 17th, but stopped on the back fringe, almost 60 feet from the hole.
Brian Flugstad, who played with Fukushima and Davey, drained a long birdie putt, then Davey holed his on a similar line as Fukushima. Fukushima left his long birdie try three feet short of the hole and missed the par putt coming back.
That meant Fukushima would have to share the course record but not the first- round lead.
'That 17th hole was almost anti-climatic for the day,' said Fukushima. 'That was just wild. Those two drain bombs, and I miss a 3-footer for par. But I had a great group, and Nick and I just seemed to ride each other's wave all day. I've always considered this a home tournament, so it would be awesome to do well here.'
Josh Habig and Steve Scott shared fifth place at 5-under-par 66, followed by Ben Ferguson, Jason Higton, Kevin Black, David Hearn, Paul Devenport and Chris Baryla. That group came in at minus-4.
Defending champion Rob Johnson shot a first-round, even-par 71 and is part of a group tied for 52nd.