Ross Fisher recorded a six under par 65 to claim a share of the lead midway through the first round of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.
The Englishman carded seven birdies and a single bogey at the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course to keep pace with in-form Stephen Gallacher.
The Scot, tied for fifth last week and with two runner-up finishes this season, signed for a bogey-free round of 65, one better than his compatriot George Murray.
Gallacher’s effort was all the more impressive as it came just four days after the horror of dropping four shots in one hole when still in contention for a second European Tour title.
The 37 year old was lying fourth at St Andrews on Sunday, when he played the wrong ball on the 16th hole and incurred a two stroke penalty.
"There's not much rough, and the greens are unbelievably good," said Gallacher after collecting three birdies on each nine.
"I got off to a good start, which was nice, but when the wind picked up it was pretty tough."
Fisher was part of Europe's Ryder Cup-winning team at The Celtic Manor Resort two years ago, but has had only one top-five finish since then and is down at 140th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
He birdied three of his first six holes, bogeyed the short 16th, but then picked up four more shots in five holes at the start of the outward half.
"I just feel comfortable here and the game feels good," he said.
Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal was paired with two of his Medinah heroes in Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari.
None of them really sparkled in the first round, however. Kaymer carded a two under par round of 69, Molinari a 71 and Olazábal a 75.
Defending champion Tom Lewis, like Murray trying to end a run of eight successive missed cuts, reached four under par when he eagled the long sixth hole from six feet, but bogeyed two of his last three holes for a round of 69.
"It was a shame about the finish, but I remembered the shots I hit last year and it definitely helped," the 21 year old commented. "I drove the ball well and gave myself a lot of opportunities."