Swede Johan Edfors boosted his attempt to end a five-year victory drought when he shares the lead with four other players after shooting a 65 in the Andalucian Open first round.
Edfors was joined on five-under-par by fellow Swedes Oscar Floren and Rikard Karlberg and British pair Jamie Elson and Robert Rock.
Of the quintet only Edfors has previously won on the European Tour although he has not done so since 2006 when he triumphed three times and was unlucky not to make the Ryder Cup team that beat the United States at the K Club in Ireland.
Apart from Floren, the others had the luck of the draw and played in the morning before a stiff breeze blew at the Parador de Golf course overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
"I had been planning to take this week off because I did not play well in the event last year," former Scottish Open, British Masters and TCL Classic champion Edfors said. "But then I decided to come and it was a good decision.
"The course is in great shape and the weather during my round was absolutely lovely. I know I have not won for five years but I feel my confidence is starting to come back."
Floren, who graduated from the second-tier Challenge Tour at the end of 2010, benefited from a change in conditions when the wind dropped again for the last nine holes of his round.
Rock's 65 was encouraging for the Englishman after he parted company with long-time caddie Jamie Lane following a lowly 58th-place finish at last week's Sicilian Open.
Fellow Englishman Elson is still trying to make up for lost sleep after the event in Sicily carried over until Monday because of bad weather.
"I only got back home to England at 9.30 on Monday night and on Tuesday I had to set my alarm for 3am to get my plane to Malaga," he said. "But when you play well you do not tend to feel the tiredness."
The little-known Karlberg, 24, sprinkled his round with seven birdies and two bogeys.
Among the five players who carded 66s to lie one shot off the lead was 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie who also played his round before sitting down to lunch.
European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal and his predecessor as skipper, Colin Montgomerie, opened with matching 70s while tournament promoter Miguel Angel Jimenez registered a 72.