Rose has twice led the Masters before after round one
England's Justin Rose and South African Trevor Immelman shared a one-shot lead at four under after the first round of the 2008 Masters at Augusta.
The pair shot rounds of 68 to hold off Brian Bateman, Brandt Snedeker and England's Lee Westwood, who finished late on in the day after morning fog.
Another Englishman in form was Ian Poulter, who fired a hole-in-one at the par-three 16th in a round of 70.
Tiger Woods, chasing a fifth Masters title, carded a level-par 72.
World number nine Rose has twice before led after the first round but finished 22nd in 2004 after a third-round 81 and a year ago he came fifth after double-bogeying the 17th when one behind winner Zach Johnson.
"I've learned you can't count your chickens too early," said Rose, who won the European Tour Order of Merit in 2007.
Immelman recently played Augusta with Rose and Poulter
"At the age of 27 you begin to say you can't keep putting it down to experience. You say 'this is the time to step up' if you like. But I'm not putting too much pressure on myself."
Rose slipped to two over after four but stormed back with a blistering run of four straight birdies from the short 6th before picking up further shots on 12 and 13.
"I wasn't aware it was six birdies in eight, I was just in the zone," added Rose. "The golf course does suit my game to a large extent. I've become a good putter on fast greens, I hit irons high and soft and I've learned to be patient."
Immelman, 28, who played a practice round at Augusta with Rose and Poulter two weeks ago, admitted his performance was a surprise considering his results so far in 2008.
"Obviously my form hasn't been too stellar so far yet this season," said Immelman, who returned to competition in January just six weeks after surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor from his diaphragm.
"The results have been pretty frustrating and pretty disappointing. I knew I just had to stay patient with myself because I know it's in there somewhere."
Johnson began his defence with a round of 70 alongside Swede Robert Karlsson, Canada's Stephen Ames and American Jim Furyk.
With the weather supposed to be getting more difficult as the week goes on, I'm right there
One shot further adrift were England's Paul Casey, South African Retief Goosen and two-time champion Phil Mickelson.
World number one Tiger Woods struggled to ignite and strung together 12 successive pars, ended by bogeys on 13 and 14.
But he chipped in for eagle at the 15th to maintain his hunt for a 14th major title and his quest for the fabled Grand Slam of all four major titles in a season.
"With the weather supposed to be getting more difficult as the week goes on, I'm right there," said Woods.
Another player on level par was the 50-year-old veteran Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Masters champion.
The Scot rolled back the years and shared the lead for a spell until marring his card with three bogeys in his last four holes.
"I had fun," he said. "It was an annoying finish but other than that level par for the first round of the Masters from an old champion is not too bad."
Fiji's Vijay Singh, the 2000 champion, carded a 72, while England's Luke Donald shot 73 and Open champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland and South African Ernie Els were among those who took 74.