A poor finish left Gary Hurley with work to do to make the cut in the Lyoness Open powered by ORGANIC+.
The West Waterford man was one-under par with four holes to go but a triple bogey seven at his 16th hole, followed by a closing bogey added up to a three-over 75 that leaves him three shots outside the projected cut mark at Diamond Country Club.
Felipe Aguilar rediscovered his form in some style with an impressive 65 to take the first-round lead.
The Chilean, who is a two European Tour winner, made eight birdies to sit two shots clear of the chasing group that includes Swede Johan Carlsson, Englishman Ashley Chesters and South African Jaco Van Zyl.
Aguilar birdied the first, third, fourth and sixth and when he rolled in an 18-footer from the fringe on the seventh, he had turned in 31.
A right-to-left putt on the tenth had him six under and while he dropped a shot on the next, a brave drive on the 13th and stunning tee-shot to tap-in range on the 16th had him as the man to catch.
Van Zyl has five runners-up finishes on the European Tour - including this season's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters - but is still searching for that elusive first victory, while Qualifying School graduate Chesters was the first of the second wave to record a 67 and he did it without a blemish, making birdies on the tenth, 13th, 18th, first and fifth.
Meanwhile, English pair Graeme Storm and Oliver Wilson, along with Frenchman Joël Stalter were a shot off the lead at four under. Storm is enjoying a successful 2017 after his win at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni and recently had a top ten at the BMW PGA Championship.
There were then 13 players at three under, a shot clear of a group including local favourite Bernd Wiesberger and defending champion Ashun Wu.
“The way I started playing golf today is always a good sign but this is only 25 percent of the tournament, we still have three days to go. It’s a long tournament, there are some really good players this week and the course is in great condition so you got to keep the good work up.
“I think I played pretty consistent in everything today. I was pretty good off the tee, hit some good irons very close to the pin, I made some good putts – I only missed one green today which was my own mistake – but I think that it was a good round overall.
“I was a little aggressive – the way I have been hitting my driver, I hit a driver off almost every single hole except one or two – besides that it was just trying to get it on the fairway. The way the greens are getting very fast and hard, they had some tricky pins out there.
“I’m going to keep the same strategy, this is just the beginning of the week and we still have three days to go.
Jaco Van Zyl
“It was literally one of my best ball striking days this year. You know I felt like I left a couple of them out there on the greens but you know tee to green was really solid.
“The greens are very tricky if you get them in the wrong place - you know you have your back against the ropes - so you just have to try to keep it below the hole. They are starting to firm up a little bit and being a tree-lined course it does swirl around a bit, so it was a little bit tricky.
“We had a fair amount of wind the first nine holes this morning and then it seemed to calm down a little bit on the back nine, so I’m expecting the greens to firm up.
“I played really solid and putted really well today. When you pick the right spots off the tee and give yourself some chances out here and you start rolling to rock, I think it’s a course you can shoot some low scores on out here.
“I felt that I have approached it a bit different mentally, I have kind of focused on that, I'm not really feeling that I am striking the ball my absolute best or the way I want to, but I managed to get around the course committed to my shots.
“When the greens are a bit firmer I like it because I put quite a bit of spin on the ball and that just makes it easier for me. We had a lot of wind this morning and it is swirling a lot out there, so that is the biggest problem I would say, at least for me.
“I holed a nice putt on the last to make sure it was bogey-free as well which is always nice but I gave myself a lot of chances, I did have a few more chances on the back nine, but five under is pretty good going.
“I’m just going to try and do the same thing again, hit as many greens, as many fairways as you can and see if I can hole a few putts.
Round One Scores
65 F Aguilar (Chi),
67 J Van Zyl (RSA), A Chesters (Eng), J Carlsson (Swe),
68 G Storm (Eng), O Wilson (Eng), J Stalter (Fra),
69 T Fisher Jnr (RSA), M Kieffer (Ger), P Waring (Eng), S Straka (Aut), A Björk (Swe), R McCarthy (Aus), R Gonzalez (Arg), J Kruger (RSA), J Guerrier (Fra), O Fisher (Eng), S Khan (Eng), T Pilkadaris (Aus), M Baldwin (Eng),
70 S Forsström (Swe), Y Yang (Kor), Z Lombard (RSA), L Gagli (Ita), M Weir (Can), A Wu (Chn), S Gros (Fra), L Bjerregaard (Den), D Frittelli (RSA), N Bertasio (Ita), C Pigem (Esp), B Wiesberger (Aut), L Canter (Eng),
71 D Perrier (Fra), R Santos (Por), G Stal (Fra), K Broberg (Swe), P Maddy (Eng), A Connelly (Can), M Tabuena (Phi), J Morrison (Eng), M Korhonen (Fin), R Kakko (Fin), N Kimsey (Eng), H Porteous (RSA), D Stewart (Sco), T Lewis (Eng), L Slattery (Eng), O Farr (Wal), M Wallace (Eng), J Dantorp (Swe), S Webster (Eng), A Wall (Eng), R Fox (Nzl), B Rumford (Aus), M Armitage (Eng), M Maukner (am) (Aut),
72 N Elvira (Esp), M Southgate (Eng), D Im (USA), J Heath (Eng), A Otaegui (Esp), M Schwab (Aut), K Horne (RSA), D Brooks (Eng), J Rutherford (Eng), S Heisele (Ger), A Maestroni (Ita), M Ford (Eng), T Detry (Bel), J Van Der Vaart (Ned), D Boonma (Tha), J Winther (Den), N Johansson (Swe), R McEvoy (Eng), M Foster (Eng), S Gallacher (Sco), B Evans (Eng), R Echenique (Arg), R Rock (Eng)
73 M Jonzon (Swe), P Tangkamolprasert (Tha), J Fahrbring (Swe), F Schulz (Aut), A Knappe (Ger), G Boyd (Eng), C Lee (Sco), O Stark (Swe), J Luiten (Ned), M Orrin (Eng), J Ahlers (RSA), S Manley (Wal), A Saddier (Fra), T Chuayprakong (Tha), C Hanson (Eng), B Hebert (Fra), E De La Riva (Esp), J Allan (Eng),
74 R Bland (Eng), A Cañizares (Esp), B Virto (Esp), E Pepperell (Eng), P Widegren (Swe), M Brier (Aut), C Ford (Eng), F Fritsch (Ger), R Dinwiddie (Eng), P Meesawat (Tha),
75 A Karlsson (Swe), P Khongwatmai (Tha), M Nixon (Eng), D Horsey (Eng), S Chan (Tpe), P Saksansin (Tha), F Mruzek (Cze), J Suri (USA), P Gal (Cze), B Etchart (Esp), M Jiménez (Esp), T Linard (Fra), J Edfors (Swe), G Havret (Fra), G Bhullar (Ind), Gary Hurley (Irl), L Astl (Aut),
76 J Roos (RSA), C Gaster (Aut), R Evans (Eng), J Quesne (Fra), M Trappel (Aut), L Nemecz (Aut), L Denk (am) (Aut),
77 C Pfau (Aut), S Dyson (Eng), S Soderberg (Swe), S Tiley (Eng), M Warren (Sco), G Porteous (Eng), J Parry (Eng), R Langasque (Fra), L Cianchetti (am) (Ita),
78 R Green (Aus), A Velasco (Esp), S Walker (Eng),
79 D Masrin (Ina), J Lara (Esp), T Baltl (Aut), R Saxton (Ned),
80 R Coles (Eng), P Dedek (Cze),
81 S Henry (Sco), G King (Eng), C Fisher (am) (Aut),
82 G Folk (am) (Aut),
83 L Lipold (am) (Aut),
** R Finch (Eng).