The other Indian challenger in the field, SSP Chowrasia, carded one-over 71 at the same layout and he was lying tied 76th.

Denmark's Christian Gloet is in his first season of professional golf. The 24-year-old, who plied his trade on the Nordic Golf League this season, carded five birdies, an eagle and just a single dropped shot to finish six better than the par of 70 on the easier Tour Course. He was a shot clear of world number 74 Lahiri.

"I played pretty good, solid from the start," Lahiri said.

He found the putting surface 17 times in regulation in what was a tee-to-green masterclass in round one.

"I began well but didn't quite manage to keep the pace up but I'm happy. I think I struck the ball really well so I'll be looking to do the same over the next five days," he said.

"The wind picked up on the back nine but they were fantastic conditions today with the sun out and not a cloud in the sky so that is much more than we could ask for.

"I hit almost all the greens and kept the ball in play and now I'm really looking forward to playing the Stadium Course tomorrow. It's a really good golf course and I enjoy playing tracks like that so hoping for a good four or five days now."

Lahiri, starting on the 10th, opened birdie-birdie and added a third one on 13th to be three-under after four holes. He had further birdies on 18th and then after seven pars, he found his fifth birdie on the day on the seventh on the front nine.

Lahiri, coming to Spain after his victory three weeks ago at the Venetian Macau Open on the Asian Tour and appearances in the CIMB Classic co-sanctioned with PGA Tour and WGC-HSBC Champions, was pleased with an opening round of 65 at the course, which is just an hour's drive north of Barcelona.

Lahiri is now well placed to grab the European Tour card available to those finishing in the top 25 and ties at PGA
Catalunya Resort.

The players play alternate rounds on two different courses, the Purple Course and the Stadium Course. The cut comes after four rounds with top-70 and ties making the final two rounds. Those in top-25 and ties get a European Tour card for 2015.

Chowrasia, who last week won the Panasonic Open India 2014 on Asian Tour, also started on 10th but had a terrible start with bogeys 13th and 15th and turned in two-over. He recovered with birdies on first and sixth, before dropping a shot on seventh and ending at one-over 71.

In tied third at four-under and one shot behind Lahiri is a host of top talent though, including European Tour winners Andrew Dodt, Johan Edfors and Kenneth Ferrie, as well as Ricardo Gonzalez and John Parry, who were the best of those to play on the tougher Stadium layout on day one.

Four-time European Tour winner Gonzalez - the most successful man in the field this week - who put together an identical rounds of 68 on the tougher Stadium Course.

Edfors narrowly missed out on a return to The Race to Dubai in 2015 after his first win in eight years at the inaugural Shankai Classic presented by IDG saw him finish in 18th place on the European Challenge Tour Rankings.

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