Germany's Martin Kaymer, the former World No.1, found himself just a shot off the lead after shooting a first-round 68 at the Austrian Open.
The German, currently ranked 99 in the world, carded six birdies in a four-under-par round at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna, to join a four-way tie for second place behind Spain's Alejandro Canizares.
American John Catlin, Sweden's Rikard Karlberg and South African Jacques Kruyswijk also signed for rounds of 68 in the European Tour event.
Canizares benefited from an eagle and four birdies in his 67, with his only blemish being a bogey at the par-4 12th.
Kaymer, who started on the back nine in chilly conditions early in the day, picked up birdies in three of his first five holes but dropped a shot on the 17th.
"The golf course played well and the conditions are pretty nice, the greens are good. I didn't make many mistakes. Four under was a decent start." – Martin Kaymer
It was a similar story after the turn, with birdies at the 1st, 2nd and 4th but a bogey at the 6th.
The 36-year-old, who is hoping to force his way into Ryder Cup contention, told the European Tour's website: "It was OK. I think the biggest battle was the cold.
"In general, the golf course played well and the conditions are pretty nice, the greens are good. I didn't make many mistakes. Four under was a decent start."
There were six players tied for fifth place on three under, including English pair Richard Mansell and Daniel Gavins.
The Scottish trio of Ewen Ferguson, David Drysdale and Grant Forrest were among a group of eight players three shots off the lead.
Maverick Antcliff was the leading Australian in the field in joint 31st place, having shot a level-par 72 while Austin Bautista (joint 57th) was two over, Deyen Lawson (joint 103rd) five over and Jake McLeod (137th) nine over.
- Andy Hampson, PAA