Paul Dunne made a strong start at the Australian PGA Championship as he looks to bring the curtain down on an incredible year in style.

Dunne has had a rollercoaster 12 months in which he led the British Open for three rounds, helped Great Britain & Ireland win the Walker Cup and secured his playing card after 14 rounds at the Qualifying School.

A double-bogey on the 11th left the Greystones with work to do, but birdies on the 12th, 13th, 16th and 18th propelled him up the leaderboard as he finished tied seventh on level par, five off the pace set by South African Zander Lombard.

Waterford's Kevin Phelan finished on six-over after his 78. Phelan steadied the ship after five bogeys through 11 holes to end the day in a tie for 97th at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast. 

Lombard took advantage of more favourable afternoon conditions to carve a two-shot lead over England’s Mark Foster, with South African Dylan Frittelli and home favourite Ashley Hall a further shot back, after bad weather battered many of the early starters.

Only six players finished under par after 60 kilometre per hour winds and driving rain welcomed those out early.

Tournament favourite and headline act Brandt Snedeker endured a nightmare start after crashing to a 12-over-par 84.

American Snedeker has won seven times on the elite US PGA Tour but looked more like a weekend hacker when he crashed to seven-over after just four holes.

At the completion of his round, he was tied for 128th at third-bottom of the field, with only Queensland's Aaron Wilkin (13-over) and South African Lean Boezaart (16-over) behind him.