Bradley Dredge fired a battling 67 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the French Open at Le Golf National, one shot clear of Graeme McDowell.
High winds made scoring tough at the Paris venue that will play host to September's Ryder Cup and
McDowell is a two-time winner of this event and is a shot off the lead alongside in-form Englishman Andy Sullivan, a man with four top-10 finishes in his last five events.
Dredge - who lost his European Tour card last season and is looking for a first win since 2006 - recovered from an opening bogey with birdies on the 13th, 14th, 17th, third and fifth to post his score before the higher winds arrived for the later starters.
"It was getting tougher and tougher out there," he told www.europeantour.com. "Obviously delighted with that score to start the tournament off.
"Got off to a bad start on 10 with a poor tee-shot and made bogey but after that, to remain bogey-free, very pleased with that."
McDowell has been named as a vice-captain for Thomas Bjorn's European team in the autumn but still harbours hopes of having a playing role and he carded seven birdies and four bogeys on Thursday.
Sullivan recorded five birdies and two dropped shots to sit alongside McDowell, a shot ahead of South African Dean Burmester, Swede Robert Karlsson and Belgian Thomas Pieters.
English pair James Morrison and Chris Wood were in a group at one under that also included Ireland's Shane Lowry, world number two Justin Thomas and world number five Jon Rahm.