Jonathan Caldwell posted one of his best rounds of the season to put himself in a position to make the cut at the Omega European Masters in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland.
The Clandeboye man has struggled this season, making the cut at just four of the 21 events he has played in, but five birdies and three bogeys in a two-under 68 has him tied for 32nd after the opening day.
Caldwell, who won the Scandinavian Mixed last year, is battling to try and retain his DP World Tour status this season, and a good finish in Switzerland would help, with a run of three birdies in a row on his front nine helping.
The 38-year-old, who had started at the 10th, dropped an early shot on 12, but bounced back straightaway with three straight birdies and managed to get to three-under briefly with back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh after bogeying the first.
However, a late bogey at the par-three eighth dropped him back, but he will still be confident he can make the weekend from this position.
Caldwell is only six shots back of leaders Thriston Lawrence and Alejandro Cañizares, who both opened with eight-under 62s in Crans Montana to hold a two-shot lead at the close of play.
Cañizares flirted with a sub-60 round after playing his first 14 holes in eight-under, only to par his way in, while Lawrence eagled his final hole – the ninth – to join him at the top.
The pair are a couple of strokes ahead after the first round, with Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, England’s Matt Wallace, South Africa’s Louis de Jager and Spain’s Eduardo de la Riva all signing for six-under 64s.
James Sugrue and David Carey both had positive opening rounds along with Caldwell, the pair carding one-under 69s to sit just inside the cut line in a share for 54th.
Mallow man Sugrue ended his day in a pleasing fashion with a birdie at the tricky par-four 18th to get under-par, while Carey mixed an eagle and a birdie with two bogeys.
Paul Dunne has work to do to make the cut after a level-par 70 in his first round, three birdies and three bogeys having him one shot outside the cut line, while Niall Kearney had a wild first round featuring three birdies, five bogeys and two double-bogeys in a six-over 76.
Unfortunately Cormac Sharvin could not keep his form from last week’s Czech Masters going, the Ardglass man failing to card a single birdie in a nine-over 79 that has him one shot off last place.