Cormac Sharvin and Michael Hoey opened with immaculate five-under-par 67s to lie just three shots off the lead at the Challenge de España in the Basque Country.
As Kalle Samooja continued an outstanding week for Finnish golf by carding an eight-under-par 64 gave to take two-shot lead over South Africa's Erik van Rooyen and Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen, Sharvin and Hoey are tied for fourth place.
West Waterford's Gary Hurley shares 43rd after a 70 with Ruaidhri McGee and Chris Selfridge 104th after 74s.
Samooja's compatriot Tapio Pulkkanen claimed a maiden European Challenge Tour title at last week’s lucrative Kazakhstan Open, taking the Road to Oman Number One Ranking in the process, while at the European Tour’s British Masters presented by Sky Sports Mikko Korhonen and Mikko Ilonen both lie one off the lead.
In good scoring conditions at Izki Golf, Samooja excelled, mixing nine birdies with a single bogey and credited his friend Pulkkanen’s breakthrough performance in Almaty for inspiring him.
“Tapio’s win definitely inspires me,” said the 29-year-old. “It inspires a lot of the Finnish players but especially me – I’ve known Tapio for a long time I’ve seen him through all his ups and downs so to watch him do as well as he did last week in such a big tournament and secure his European Tour card was really amazing.
“I was really happy for him and I tried to take something from that for this week and today it certainly seems to have helped."
Challenge de España, Izki Golf Urturi (Par 72)
64 K Samooja (Fin),
66 E Van Rooyen (RSA), K Johannessen (Nor),
67 Cormac Sharvin (Nir), M Delpodio (Ita), G Porteous (Eng), R Santos (Por), G Boyd (Eng), Michael Hoey (Nir), J Arnoy (Nor), V Perez (Fra),
68 M Lafeber (Ned), B Evans (Eng), J Lara (Esp), G Forrest (Sco), R Davies (Wal), T Murray (Eng), T Pulkkanen (Fin), J Lando Casanova (Fra), M Lundberg (Swe), J McDonald (Sco),
69 B Hellgren (Swe), P Mejow (Ger), C Aronsen (Nor), D Dixon (Eng), J McLeary (Sco), R Finch (Eng), N Von Dellingshausen (Ger), D Borda (Esp), J Senior (Eng), E Ferguson (Sco), J Winther (Den), V Riu (Fra), S Gregory (Eng), E Dubois (Fra), R Hjelm (Den), R Enoch (Wal), C Sordet (Fra), C Ford (Eng), P Oriol (Esp), N Cullen (Aus), J Hansen (Den),
70 N Geyger (Chi), M Baldwin (Eng), A Tadini (Ita), M Schwab (Aut), J Heath (Eng), M Trappel (Aut), E Lipparelli (Ita), M Orrin (Eng), J Rutherford (Eng), M Kinhult (Swe), S Tarrio Ben (Esp), J Kunzenbacher (Ger), L Robinson (Eng), B Paolini (USA), Gary Hurley (Irl), W Besseling (Ned), S Hutsby (Eng), C Del Moral (Esp),
71 P Martin Benavides (Esp), K Eriksson (Swe), J Cafourek (Cze), R Evans (Eng), O Stark (Swe), N Grau Tomas (Esp), R Echenique (Arg), O Farr (Wal), P Tarver-Jones (Eng), F Laporta (Ita), C Braeunig (Ger), R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra), M Ovesen (Den), J Van Der Vaart (Ned), D Law (Sco), D Berna Manzanares (Esp), R McEvoy (Eng), J Sjöholm (Swe), A Arnaus (am), (Esp),
72 B Poke (Den), S Fernandez (Esp), J Garcia Pinto (Esp), R Dinwiddie (Eng), P Howard (Eng), T Linard (Fra), O Wilson (Eng), S Tiley (Eng), J Dantorp (Swe),
73 M Haastrup (Den), A Wennstam (Swe), P Valasek (Svk), J Sainz (Esp), N Johansson (Swe), C Mivis (Bel), A Turner (Eng), M Schneider (Ger), M Dobias (Sui), D Van Driel (Ned), A Velasco (Esp), M Ford (Eng), E Goya (Arg), J Sarasti (Esp), R Kakko (Fin),
74 A Saddier (Fra), C Balmaseda (Esp), S Henry (Sco), Chris Selfridge (Nir), P Maddy (Eng), B Virto (Esp), M Nixon (Eng), N Ravano (Ita), Ruaidhri McGee (Irl), A Aguilera (am), (Esp),
75 B Rusch (Sui), D Fox (Aus), B Easton (RSA), M Galiano Aguilar (Esp), E Cuartero Blanco (Esp), L Vacarisas (Esp), N Lindstrom (Swe), M Fenasse (Fra),
76 P Roos (Fin), J Girrbach (Sui), M Wiegele (Aut), M Lampert (Ger), M Tullo (Chi), F Maccario (Ita),
77 E Larrañaga (Esp),
78 T Ferrer (Esp), M Galdos (Esp), J Allan (Eng),
83 D Suchan (Cze).