Marcus Fraser and Fabrizio Zanotti took full advantage of good scoring conditions in Cologne to lead the BMW International Open.
Both players fired eight under par 64s at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof to lead by one from Ireland’s former Ryder Cup vice captain Paul McGinley and English pair Danny Willett and Chris Wood.
Two-time European Tour winner Fraser led the way in the morning session with his round, which featured five birdies in the last six holes.
“It's great,” said the Australian, who finished with a lengthy birdie putt. “I played really well - drove the ball really straight, only missed one fairway.
“Any time you do that, you're going to give yourself plenty of chances. The greens were nice this morning and I managed to make a few putts and especially a few at the end, which was great.
“On 17 I just missed the left edge, so could have been six. But that's always the story; we're never happy. I played really well and gave myself a lot of chances so it was nice to roll a few in.”
The 33 year old has been in good form this season with five top-20 finishes and believes a third victory may be just around the corner.
“Towards the end of last year it felt like everything took a turn for the better and I was heading in the right direction,” he added. “So if you keep giving yourself a chance you never know when it might happen, I just have to keep practicing and playing hard and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.”
Paraguayan Zanotti's round was even more action-packed – it contained two eagles, seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.
“I played very well and made good putts,” he said. “I only had hit one bad shot and made the double bogey, but I played really good.
“Tomorrow I’ll just try to play like I did today, come and play the course shot by shot and see what happens.
“I’m very happy because when I made the double, I made the birdies again. So I kept fighting and concentrating and I kept calm.”
Colin Montgomerie, back from television commentary work in San Francisco, shot 69, but local favourite Martin Kaymer struggled with jet-lag - "I only slept for two hours," he said - and had to settle for a 71, the same as Sergio Garcia.