Davis, mistakenly thinking he was short on time, played a red left-handed and missed it to let Hawkins in.
The Kent cueman closed to 42-41 down with less than a minute to go then Davis had a double-kiss while playing safe, allowing Hawkins to pot red and yellow to win.
Finalist in 2012 Graeme Dott, who was a semi-finalist in the recent Masters, went down 58-17 to Matthew Selt.
Matthew Stevens potted a solitary red against Marcus Campbell while veteran Jimmy White lost 69-36 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
On Saturday Nigel Bond, who won the revived event in 2011, will play Chinese Cao Yupeng while Liang Wenbo faces Stephen Maguire and Mark Selby is up against Ken Doherty.
The Blackpool Tower Circus Arena hosts the tournament - which was contested on one other occasion, in 1990 - from January 25-27.
Alan McManus 61 - 13 Fergal O'Brien
Ben Woollaston 50 - 14 Paul S Davison
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 69 - 36 Jimmy White
Michael Holt 54 - 10 Jamie Burnett
Robert Milkins 43 - 30 Allister Carter
Dominic Dale 31 - 6 Peter Ebdon
Jamie Jones 67 - 9 Mark King
Ricky Walden 48 - 43 David Gilbert
Jack Lisowski 61 - 35 Adam Duffy
Matthew Selt 58 - 17 Graeme Dott
Marcus Campbell 63 - 1 Matthew Stevens
Michael White 64 - 17 Joe Perry
Anthony Hamilton 84 - 8 Stuart Bingham
Mark Allen 63 - 11 Tom Ford
Mark J Williams 73 - 0 Mike Dunn
Barry Hawkins 45-42 Steve Davis