Derry's Ruaidhri McGee continued his positive start to the season by firing seven birdies in an opening 67 to share third place in the Swiss Challenge.
The 26-year old, who is ranked 17th in the Road to Oman standings thanks to a fourth place finish in the Turkish Airlines Challenge and a tie for 12th in the Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9, is just three strokes behind Americans Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini.
Childhood friends, the leaders carded seven birdies apiece in their bogey-free, seven under par rounds of 64 at Golf Sempacherse.
Paolini, who won the 2013 Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge, set the clubhouse lead before being joined by Suri, who secured his first professional victory last week at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge.
McGee is in a 12-way tie for third but it was also a good day for Kevin Phelan, who shares 15th on three under after a 68 and Cormac Sharvin tied 32nd after a 69.
David Carey also had an excellent day in just his fourth Challenge Tour start as he posted a one-under 70 to lie joint 44th.
Mount Juliet's Stephen Grant is 87th after a one-over 72 while Headfort's Rory McNamara ended up back in 141st after a rollercoaster 78.
Scores after Round One:
64 J Suri (USA), B Paolini (USA),
67 P Whiteford (Sco), V Riu (Fra), J Zunic (Aus), S Hodgson (Eng), Ruaidhri McGee (Irl), P Howard (Eng), D Huizing (Ned), M Cort (Eng), N Cullen (Aus), J Van Der Vaart (Ned), B Hafthorsson (Isl), S Jeppesen (Swe), P Cohen (am) (Sui),
68 R Hjelm (Den), C Koepka (USA), M Fenasse (Fra), V Østerby (Den), P Mejow (Ger), S Kim (USA), A Pavan (Ita), C Lee (Sco), Kevin Phelan (Irl), O Farr (Wal), L Galliano (Sui), J Girrbach (Sui), L Gagli (Ita), F Laporta (Ita), M Iten (Sui), P Oriol (Esp),
69 C Griffiths (Eng), D Papadatos (Aus), J Bower (Eng), J Thomson (Eng), C Ford (Eng), M Haastrup (Den), C Sharvin (Nir), J Lando Casanova (Fra), N Geyger (Chi), T Tree (Eng), M Wiegele (Aut), R Enoch (Wal),
70 G Migliozzi (Ita), S Einhaus (Ger), O Lindell (Fin), B Rusch (Sui), W Besseling (Ned), C Sordet (Fra), G Woolgar (Eng), M Kramer (Ger), D Vancsik (Arg), M Baldwin (Eng), S Fernandez (Esp), J Senior (Eng), S Brown (Eng), N Ravano (Ita), D Law (Sco), D Van Driel (Ned), K Johannessen (Nor), David Carey (Irl), L Cianchetti (am) (Ita),
71 K Eriksson (Swe), M Lampert (Ger), E Dubois (Fra), J Sjöholm (Swe), D Gaunt (Aus), M Trappel (Aut), J Doherty (Sco), A Saddier (Fra), J Garcia Pinto (Esp), T Murray (Eng), J Arnoy (Nor), V Perez (Fra), M Laskey (Wal), N Quintarelli (Ita), E Goya (Arg), B Eccles (Aus), B Easton (RSA), M Schneider (Ger), R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra), R McCarthy (Aus), M Lafeber (Ned), C Lawrie (Sco), J Sarasti (Esp), R Davies (Wal),
72 P Roos (Fin), J Loughrey (Eng), P Tarver-Jones (Eng), T Shadbolt (Eng), E Johansen (Nor), R Francioni (Sui), A Gabella (Sui), B Hellgren (Swe), Stephen Grant (Irl), R Kellett (Sco), O Wilson (Eng), H Casey (Eng), G Cambis (Fra), H Joannes (Bel), A Wennstam (Swe), N Woernhard (am) (Sui),
73 D Foos (Ger), R De Sousa (Sui), K Hesbois (Bel), J Vecchi Fossa (Ita), A Tadini (Ita), J Burnier (Sui), C Berardo (Fra), A Zemmer (Ita), J Kunzenbacher (Ger), G Watremez (Bel), A Turner (Eng), L Lilja (Esp), A Maestroni (Ita), B Neil (Sco), F Daux (Fra), J Glennemo (Swe), J Pastor (Esp), C Braeunig (Ger), J Makitalo (Fin), J Hansen (Den), A Arnaus (am) (Esp), J Freiburghaus (am) (Sui),
74 O Rozner (Fra), L Weber (Fra), C Mivis (Bel), A Olsen (Nor), J McLeary (Sco), N Møller (Den), J Barnes (Eng), W Harrold (Eng), Z Felder (Sui), C Del Moral (Esp), M Delpodio (Ita),
75 M Eggenberger (Sui), J Friesz (Svk), N Marsh (Eng), K Samooja (Fin), J Shim (am) (Tur),
76 Rory McNamara (Irl), T Lawrence (RSA), P Martin Benavides (Esp), F Bergamaschi (Ita),
77 D Suchan (Cze), M Hocaoglu (Tur),
78 S Connor (Eng), M Dobias (Sui),
79 N Lindstrom (Swe), S Hutsby (Eng), M Godoy (Arg),
80 T Rodrigues (Por),
81 G Pinto (Por), C Caviezel (Sui),
85 K Kulokorpi (Fin),
** T Ferrer (Esp).