Not even the coveted Stonehaven Cup could exempt Australian Open first-round leader Byeong Hun An from compulsive military service in his native South Korea.
But the son of Olympic medal-winning table tennis players is determined to go on to victory at The Lakes after two crushing losses on the US PGA Tour this year.
An fired a five-under-par 67 to take a one-shot lead over locals Matt Jager and amateur David Micheluzzi (both 68) on a brutal day where winds reached 35km/h and rain lashed the afternoon groups.
An's eagle on the par-5 eighth, his penultimate hole of the day having started on the 10th, iced a round featuring five birdies and two bogeys.
Uber driver Adam Stephens, 2016 Olympian Marcus Fraser and Mexico's Abraham Ancer were among a six-way tie for fourth at three under.
As a 17-year-old, An became youngest-ever winner of the US Amateur title in 2009 - an event Tiger Woods ruled for three straight years.
He is the only son of former Olympic table tennis players An Jae-hyeong and Jiao Zhimin, who each won medals for Korea and China, respectively, at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
But at 186cm and 96 kilograms, their son was likely never going to be agile enough.
"I wasn't that quick and (my parents) saw that I wasn't good enough to play table tennis, but (golf) turned out pretty good," European Tour winner An joked.
An feels hoisting the Stonehaven would atone for a heartbreaking play-off loss to Bryson DeChambeau at the US Tour's Memorial tournament in May and his runner-up finish to Dustin Johnson at the Canadian Open in July.
However, an Australian Open victory is not one of the athletic achievements - such as a medal at the Olympics or Asian games - that An could can use to avoid two years of compulsory military service in South Korea.
It is why the 27-year-old is eager to play on South Korea's golf team at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"I still can postpone (service) for a couple more years," An said.
"(The) Olympics is coming up and a medal gets me exempt, so that's definitely on my mind."
Meanwhile, casualties from treacherous day one weather included Australian pros Antonio Murdaca, Adam Blyth and Matt Giles - each carding scores of 10 on one hole.
Defending champion Cameron Davis had a nightmare start, dropping seven shots in his first three holes, but picked up three shots to sign for a four-over 76.
Pre-tournament favourite Cameron Smith, the highest-ranked Australian at The Lakes, struggled to a two-over 74, as did his American playing partner Brandt Snedeker (73).
Matt Kuchar, the highest-ranked player in the field, carded a respectable 70 in the tougher afternoon wave while fellow American drawcard Keegan Bradley posted an even-par 72.