Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin is tied for second after an opening 69 left him just two shots behind Spain's Adri Arnaus in the Challenge Tour's Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf and Country Club.
Four under after 10 holes, he double-bogeyed the 13th but birdied the 16th to share second place with Welshman Owen Edwards, Austrian Lukas Nemecz and Portuguese amateur Vitor Lopes on three-under par.
Ballymena's Dermot McElroy and West Waterford's Gary Hurley are tied fifth after 70s with Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge and Naas' Jack Hume just inside the cut mark after 73s.
Jonny Caldwell and Stuart Grehan signed for 75s and Conor O'Rourke posted a 76 to leave them with work to do to make the cut.
Sharvin will be keen to push on after he finished tied 15th in the Challenge de España last week to move up to 40th in the rankings.
In the European Tour's Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, Derry's Ruaidhri McGee struggled to a six-over 77 to lie five shots outside the projected cut mark at Verdura Golf Club.
He's 12 strokes behind Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard and England's Ryan Evans, who defied windy conditions to shoot six-under 65s for a two-stroke lead.
On the LPGA's second tier Symetra Tour, Jordanstown's Stephanie Meadow opened with a one-over 73 in the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women's Health Classic at Greenwood in South Carolina.
She's tied for 29th, five shots behind Thailand's Pajaree Anannarukarn who shot a 68 to lead by a shot from Jessica Welch and Katelyn Sepmoree.
With two top 10s and a win in her first three starts, she's ranked second in the 'Volvik Race for the Card" money list with the top 10 earning promotion to the LPGA Tour at the end of the year.