Five birdies in six holes from the turn swept Sweden's Joakim Haeggman into the clubhouse lead in the Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal at Porto Santo Golfe.
In 1993 Haeggman became the first Swede to represent Europe in The Ryder Cup, but he was back at Qualifying School last November and in a bid to reignite his career has already had a top ten finish at the Joburg Open.
Level par after a front nine 35, the 39 year old birdied the tenth and then had four in a row from the 12th to sign for a flawless five under par 66.
“Overall it has been very steady,” he said.
“I did some good work in Spain last week with Simon Holmes my golf coach and it has been very satisfying. We all work hard at the game but it nice to be able to bring it out here on the golf course and make a great start to the tournament.
“I hit a great chip on ten from an almost impossible lie to two feet and made that. I pitched it to a foot on 12 and then had a lovely six iron to eight feet on 13 which is obviously a bit of a bonus. I pushed the drive on 14 to be honest but played a nice approach and holed the birdie putt and then played a great pitch to the 15th for birdie and managed to stay steady coming in.
“My game has been pretty good since November when I finished sixth at the Qualifying School. I took that on and finished seventh in Joburg at the start of the year so there have been a few good things going on. It's just that right now you really struggle to get a chance to play. You come off Tour School, get one chance, finish seventh and go to 60th in The Race to Dubai and then you have to watch everyone overtake you - before you know it you are back to being 120th again. So it's really nice to be able to play again and get the feel for it and get back into The Tour.”
Haeggman’s effort left him two shots clear of Spain's Carl Suneson, England’s Andrew Butterfield and Argentinian youngster Estanislao Goya with six players in the clubhouse a shot further back on two under.
Suneson, who represented England at amateur level, carded four birdies on his outward nine and at one point was five under alongside Haeggman, but back to back bogeys on his closing holes set him back.
Butterfield’s round contained five birdies and two bogeys, as did 20 year old Goya’s.
Italian Costantino Rocca, now 52 and taking a break from The Seniors Tour circuit, was one over along with 2006 winner Jean Van de Velde.
On the course Ireland’s Damien McGrane had joined Haeggman on five under through 13 holes, with Niclas Fasth three under after 13.