Day one produced plenty of birdies and low numbers at Verdura Golf Club.
On a day of low scoring due to calm conditions, South African Zander Lombard was just one shot off the lead, with the resurgent Alvaro Quiros, German Sebastian Heisele and South African Jbe Kruger then at eight under.
He then made four pars in a row but a stunning approach to the eighth produced a birdie and when he found the fringe on the par five ninth with his second, the record was still a possibility.
He had to settle for a birdie, however, after leaving his putt short and made a par on his last after repeating the trick.
“I left it in the jaws, both putts, but I was nervous,” he said. “It was hard to hit them past the hole but it’s nice to be nervous because I haven’t been nervous on a golf course for quite a while and it’s exciting to be such a good score.
“My best ever score by two shots, no bogeys, doesn’t get much better.”
A birdie-birdie finish catapulted Lombard up the leaderboard after he had earlier made gains on the 15th, 16th, 17th, first, second, fourth and sixth.
Spaniard Quiros fired a second consecutive eight under par round on the European Tour, including the 16th hole-in-one of the season when he holed a seven iron from 191 yards on the 13th.
Heisele, fresh off a top five in Portugal last week, had an eagle on the fourth to go with six birdies while Kruger made a single bogey in his 63.
English pair David Horsey and Lee Slattery, Portuguese José-Filipe Lima, China’s Li Haotong and Spaniard Eduardo de la Riva were at seven under, a shot clear of a group including Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn.