Chile's Filipe Aguilar, Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark and Frenchman Gary Stal are in a three-way tie for the lead after the first round of the Spanish Open in Valencia.
The trio finished on four-under-par, one stroke clear of the field, after a tough, blustery opening day at the Parador de El Saler lay-out.
Aguilar made three birdies on both the front and back nines, although bogeys at the second and eighth ensured he was unable to ultimately claim the outright lead.
Both Stal and Madsen had a quiet front nine, managing only one birdie apiece. However, the Challenge Tour rookies came back strongly down the home stretch to put themselves in contention.
Home favourite Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, fresh from his efforts at The Masters, heads a group of eight players one back at three-under which also includes David Higgins, Craig Lee, Joakim Lagergren, Jan Robert Derksen, Matthew Southgate, Joel Sjoholm and Daniel Brooks.
Sergio Garcia, who entered the week as a red-hot favourite with the bookmakers, struggled during his first round.
A double-bogey at the par-three fourth undermined what proved a frustrating 18 holes for the 33-year-old as he signed for a level-par 72.
A delighted Aguilar said afterwards: "This course is playing very nicely - especially in the morning with very little wind.
"The conditions are absolutely fantastic. It's a very difficult golf course if you miss the fairways off the tee; as long as you keep it on the fairway off the tee you get pretty good chances. The greens are rolling really nicely.
"Four-under is a good score anywhere, so I'm quite happy with it."
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