Local favourite Jorge Campillo shared the lead with three others at the end of the opening day of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters after posting a patient 69 in extremely difficult conditions at Real Club Valderrama.
The combination of wind and firm greens made a famously difficult course even harder to tame, with just five players managing to break par on Thursday.
Home hope Pep Angles, playing in the same group as American Catlin, was the other man to post an under par score with his 70.
None of the afternoon starters were able to trouble the leaders, with the course still showing its teeth late in the day.
Two time European Tour winner Campillo started brightly, firing birdies at the second, fourth and eighth to reach the turn in 32 while others were struggling to stay on the right side of par.
He briefly slipped off the top of the leaderboard after dropping his first shot of the day at the 13th but bounced straight back by holing a long putt for birdie on the 14th before narrowly missing his ambitious birdie try from 55 feet at the next.
After finding the water on the long 17th, Campillo just missed his par putt and he did well not to drop another shot at the last after getting into tree trouble, with a solid two putt from range taking him into the clubhouse on two under.
The 34-year-old was happy with his first round effort.
"I played very good on the front nine and the back nine I kept it steady there, which was very good," said Campillo, who came into this event on the back of two top ten finishes.
"It's just a shame about the bogey on the 17th, but overall it was a good round.
"I put the ball in play off the tee quite well and I hit good iron shots.
"My short game wasn’t as good as it has been in the last few months and my putting was good too so everything was good besides the short game – I had a couple of up-and-downs where I would normally hit it close and I didn’t but overall it was good.
"I am normally a patient man, especially on this golf course. You have to be and par is a good score on this golf course so it’s easier for me to be patient on these kinds of courses."
Scotland's Syme is also in superb form at the moment and he showed great determination as he recovered from a poor start with four birdies on his back nine to finish the day in the red numbers.
He turned in 37 after sandwiching the only birdie of his front nine between a double bogey and a bogey, before making another birdie at the 12th and then finishing his round with a hat-trick of gains at the 16th, 17th and 18th.
The highlight of his fine finish came at the last when he chipped in from just off the green.
Syme said: "I was happy with the back nine.
"To be honest I didn't know how I was scoring, it's one of those days where you're just getting on and grinding and it's nice to see a few drop at the end."
Catlin got off to a fast, reeling off three birdies in his first four holes to jump into contention.
His momentum was halted by back to back bogeys at the fifth and sixth but he closed his front nine with another birdie to turn in 33.
After dropping another shot at the 13th, Catlin took advantage of the long 17th to join the large group on two under.
He said good approach play was the secret to the success he enjoyed in the early part of his round.
"I hit a couple of shots in there really close," he said. "At the first I think I was two feet away then on the par three I hit one to about two feet as well.
"At the par five I hit it up greenside in two and was able to chip one down there to about five or six feet and holed it so really it was my approach shots. I didn't give myself very long putts and was able to hole them.
"This is already an incredibly difficult golf course and then you add 35km winds, tough pins and very firm and fast greens.
"I'm very, very happy to be in the red. That was my goal from the start of the day and to be able to have achieved that is very, very nice."
Migliozzi got to three under after notching birdies at the third, eighth and tenth before making his first bogey at the par three 12th.
He recovered with a birdie at the next hole but carded a double bogey on the short 15th to fall back to one under.
The 23-year-old tapped in for a birdie from close range on the 17th before closing his round with a par at the last.
"It’s been a great day of golf," he said. "It’s no joke around here, Valderrama on a windy day, so I’m happy about my game and happy about the result.
"This is a paradise so I’m happy to be here and happy to play well."