France’s Gregory Bourdy held the early lead in the European Masters after carding an eight-under-par first round of 63 on Thursday.
Bourdy climbed to the top of the leaderboard on the back of five birdies on his inward nine holes.
“It was a great day. I don’t think I’ve ever played better,” said Bourdy, who is aiming to pick up his first Tour win since 2009 and the Hong Kong Open.
“This course isn’t the most difficult, but it’s not the easiest either, because you have to hit the ball very straight and I managed to do that today,” he said. “I only missed one shot all day, but still managed to save par. My attitude was very good; I was very positive and that’s why I finished very well.”
He holds a two-stroke lead over England’s Oliver Fisher and Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed, who share second on six-under 65 at Crans-sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps.
There was a five-way tie for fourth on five under between Welshman Rhys Davies, England’s Robert Coles, India’s Anirban Lahiri, Scott Barr and England’s David Howell.
Only two members of Europe’s Ryder Cup team — Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson — are competing this week.
Scot Lawrie, aiming to add this to his win last weekend in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Glenagles, shot a two-under 69, as did Sweden’s Hanson.
Andy Zhang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur, ended his first round with a one-over-par 72.