Gregory Bourdy set a course record with a 7-under 63 Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the Mallorca Open.
The 29-year-old French golfer made nine birdies and holds a one-shot lead over Danny Willett of England.
Bourdy won the event at the Pula Golf Club in 2007 for his first of three European titles.
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and England's Matthew Nixon were tied for third, two shots off the lead.
Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 1-over 71 and Colin Montgomerie had a 77 after both missed the practice round to attend Wednesday's funeral of Spanish golf great Seve Ballesteros.