Benoit Teilleria, from France, who has yet to win on the Challenge Tour, carded a six-under-par 66 to lead after the first round of the Beazer Homes Challenge Tour Championship.
The 26-year-old is two shots clear of ranking leader, Carl Suneson, from Spain, and English pair, Shaun Webster and Carl Watts.
Teilleria, from Biarritz, carded eight birdies and put his good form down to his putting. "I've been putting badly recently but not today," he said. "I haven't got a new putter and I didn't do anything different today but the putts went in for a change."
Suneson was out in 33 with three birdies, found two more in an inward 35 while Telford-based Watts didn't drop a shot over the 7,317-yard course.
Webster, from Bournemouth, a former England Amateur champion, carded five birdies, three in a row from the 13th, and like Teilleria, has been struggling on the greens.
"If you don't putt well it puts so much pressure on your long game to knock the ball close," he said. "But I've got a new Never Compromise putter this week which a lot of players are using on the US tour."
Robert Coles, from Essex, an avid West Ham fan, celebrated their Intertoto Cup victory on Wednesday evening by shooting a 69 which leaves him in joint fifth place with Pehr Magnebrant of Sweden.
All the leading scores were achieved in the morning when 18 players beat par. But after lunch a stronger wind gave the Wiltshire course more teeth with only nine sub-par scores being returned, the best being 70.