England's Ross Fisher and Stephen Gallacher of Scotland lead the Portugal Masters after carding opening rounds of 65 at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.
Fisher produced seven birdies during his six-under-par round, while Gallacher did not drop a single shot as he joined the former Ryder Cup player at the top of the leaderboard.
Fisher, 31, was part of Colin Montgomerie's victorious side in Wales two years ago, but has managed only one top-five finish since that triumph at Celtic Manor and now finds himself down at 140th in the world.
In-form Gallacher picked up where he left off at the Dunhill Links Championship last week where he was still in contention before playing the wrong ball on the 16th and running up a quadruple-bogey eight.
Another Scot, George Murray, sits in third place on his own at five-under, while Swedish duo Fredrik Andersson Hed and Christian Nilsson are one shot further back in fourth along with Ireland's Shane Lowry, Jamie Donaldson of Wales and South African Jbe Kruger.
Europe's victorious Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal managed only a 75 on his return to action after hooking into the lake on the 18th - his ninth - for a triple-bogey seven.
The Spaniard was out-scored by playing partners Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari, the two members of his team in the field.
Kaymer scored 69, the same as defending champion Tom Lewis, and Molinari 71 to match his brother Edoardo.
Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, the two front-runners for Olazabal's job, had differing fortunes - Clarke finished with an eight-iron into the ninth hole for an eagle two and a 70, but McGinley withdrew before the start with a bad back.
"It's been a tough season, but it's nice to see my hard work pay off and if that Ryder Cup win (at Medinah) doesn't inspire you then nothing will," Fisher stated afterwards.
"It was weird - I was more nervous watching on the sofa than I was playing at Celtic Manor."
Gallacher admitted conditions had been good for scoring, adding: "There's not much roughs and the greens are unbelievably good, but when the wind got up it was pretty tough."