The Warwickshire-based golfer, who will be 34 next week, upstaged local favourites, including the defending champion Jesper Parnevik. Broadhurst goes into the second round two shots clear of his nearest challengers, the Scottish pair of Colin Montgomerie and Dean Robertson.
The former Ryder Cup player had eight birdies in his round. Only a bogey six at the 16th prevented him from beating the course record, held jointly by Vijay Singh and Tony Johnstone.
Broadhurst said: "I am absolutely delighted and very surprised - it has been a long time coming and although I have been playing better in the past couple of months I have not been scoring well.
"I have worked very hard at my game all year. I have dispensed with my coach, Bill Ferguson, and instead I am working on my mental approach with sports psychologist John Alsopp. I have cleared my head of all the theory.
"This is a very nice feeling but I am well aware that I have missed nine cuts in 21 tournaments this year and there are three more rounds to go. My caddie said on the 18th green that if he could have one wish, he would wish it was Sunday!"
Broadhurst made the European Ryder Cup team in 1991 by the skin of his teeth. Ironically he finished first and second in two of the last three events to clinch his place, but he has no illusions of a repeat performance this month.
"I've got no chance of making the Ryder Cup team so I am not thinking about that, even though it may be possible mathematically," he said.
"My aim here is still to make the cut, although I'll probably get some hassle from my wife tonight about winning it."
After his opening 67, which included seven birdies and two bogies, Montgomerie said: "I am in contention again and that is where I want to be. My name is on the leader board and I hope to go out early tomorrow and build on what I have got. But I am pleased for Paul because he has had a lean time, so good luck to him."
On a day of hot temperatures and little wind, low scores were guaranteed. Italy's Costantino Rocca kept alive his faint Ryder Cup hopes with a four- under 68. He finally got the putter working and took only 26 putts.
Sheffield's John Mellor and Spaniard Francisco Cea also finished on four under, whileJesper Parnevik leads the pack of players one shot further back after opening with a 69.
There were two particularly memorable shots of the day. Sweden's Patrik Sjoland hit a hole in one on the 170-yard par-three eighth (to add to his hole in one in the second round of the Qatar Masters in February), which earned him a pounds 25,000 car from the tournament sponsors. The shot was a rare highlight in Sjoland's round, however. He failed to make any other birdies or eagles and finished with a three-over-par 75.
The other heroic feat came from the experienced Australian Rodger Davis, who holed his second shot with a five wood for an albatross two at the 547-yard par five 16th. It was the second albatross on the Tour this year and helped Davis to shoot a one-under-par 71.
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