Colm Moriarty carded a five under par 66 to set the early pace on the opening day of the Saint-Omer Open presented by Neuflize OBC.
The Irishman, among the first players out this morning in Lumbres, established an early lead and maintained his advantage during a largely accomplished day’s work.
He signalled his intent with a birdie on the first hole, and there were five more - including four in five holes around the turn - in a round that was marred only by a bogey on the par three 17th.
“I got off to a nice start and just kept it going from there,” said Moriarty. “The wind did pick up a little bit later on in my round, but I managed to keep my momentum and focus and, all in all, it was a good day.
“It can be very tricky when the wind gets up. But more than anything I just changed my attitude out there, because it's very easy to get defensive.
“The wind can be all over the place, so it’s very easy to back off of some shots instead of taking them on. Today I just decided to pick my targets and swing at them, and it seemed to work out pretty well.”
Moriarty, who celebrated his 31st birthday last week, held a two shot clubhouse lead over Joakim Backstrom, Michael Lorenzo-Vera and Charles-Edouard Russo.
Backstrom, the Swede, was three under after 10 holes but failed to make any further headway, while bogeys at the 12th and 17th cost Frenchman Lorenzo-Vera the momentum built up during a blistering start.
Russo, Lorenzo-Vera’s compatriot, suffered an even more disappointing end to his round, closing with two bogeys - and three in total on the back nine - after he had gone out in a five under par 31.
Spain's Jordi Garcia, Alessandro Tadini of Italy and Chilean Mark Tullo were one shot further adrift on two under par after opening rounds of 63.
Among those still on the course, Australian Adam Blyth, who began his round on the 10th, made an eye-catching move up the leaderboard with three birdies in his opening three holes.