Victor Perez (Getty Images)
Early clubhouse leader Jaco van Zyl had company at the top of the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita leaderboard after Victor Perez began his back nine with a brilliant birdie blitz.
South African Van Zyl closed out his sparkling 65 with a birdie and an eagle on Thursday morning to open up a two-shot lead over nearest challenger Matthieu Pavon.
But he was caught by afternoon starter Perez after he carded eight birdies and a single bogey in his opening 15 holes to jump to seven under par.
Fellow later starters Chikkarangappa S and Masahiro Kawamura were another stroke back in a tie for third with several holes of their first rounds remaining.
Challenge Tour graduate Perez is enjoying a fine start to his European Tour career, having finished in a tie for third at last week's Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi.
Starting from the tenth tee at Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita, he made back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th before picking up further shots at the 16th and 18th to reach the turn in 32.
And he then reeled off a hat-trick of birdies from the second to join Van Zyl at the top.
The 26 year old dropped his first shot of the day at the short fifth but got it back with a 12-foot putt at the next to return to seven under.
Van Zyl also started brightly early on day one, firing birdies at the first, fourth and sixth to turn in 33.
After making another gain at the 11th, the 39 year old produced a spectacular birdie-eagle - courtesy of a magnificent 15-foot eagle putt at the last - finish to sign for a 65.
Van Zyl was pleased to get his 2019 Race to Dubai campaign off to a flying start.
He said: "It's the first round of a new season, so it’s really nice to get off to a good, solid start.
"I played nicely and it was a really nice finish. I was going well and then I finished birdie-eagle.
"After getting back from my injury, I’ve been at it – I think I played six events in Europe in the latter part of the year.
"It feels like I'm still getting back into it and shooting seven under in the first round is a really good feeling."