France's Raphaël Jacquelin and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg tamed tricky conditions on the Parador de El Saler course to lead the Open de España alongside Felipe Aguilar.Difficult pin placements and wind combined to ensure scoring was far from easy on the part links, part parkland course.
Having picked up a trio of birdies in an outward 33, Jacquelin produced even better on the back nine with three successive gains from 11 being followed up by another at 16.
A bogey at the next somewhat undermined his earlier work - though he could take heart from being at the summit of the leaderboard going into the weekend.
“I am very pleased with the way I played,” he said. “Even yesterday, I shot one over but hit the ball pretty good.
“I have been patient and it paid today; that’s the game of golf. I am very pleased six under, especially on this course – which is not easy.
“I did well today. It was great to play; I think maybe it was a little more windy this morning, but sometimes you have to be lucky.”
Karlberg, meanwhile, fired five birdies and an eagle - only to see his effort tainted slightly by finishing with back to back bogeys.Playing in a manner that belied the struggles of the earlier starters, the 26 year old - eyeing his first win on The European Tour - got off to the hottest of starts.
Perhaps predictably, he was unable to keep up that pace throughout yet still managed to avoid the kind of collapse that often undermines such a beginning.
Indeed, pars were interspersed with birdies at 11 and 14 to leave Karlberg seven under - only for him to finish in frustrating fashion.
Aguilar, meanwhile, did not deliver the fireworks of his two rivals, yet managed to show impressive consistency.The Chilean, aiming for just his second European Tour win and first since 2008, dropped no shots in a 71, picking up his sole birdie on the par five third.
Home favourite Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, following last week's impressive effort at the Masters Tournament, shot a disappointing 73 to be two under overall, yet accentuated the positives.“I didn’t play as good as yesterday but overall I’m in a good position for the weekend," he said.
Fernandez-Castaño now has a temporary membership for The PGA Tour, but is planning to spend plenty of time in Europe still.He said: "This is my home tour and I love it here. Whatever I am now as a player is thanks to The European Tour and I think it’s fair to say that I need to give back as much as I can here.”