Gregory Bourdy of France shot an 8-under 63 to lead by two strokes after the rain-swept European Masters first round on Thursday.
Bourdy, who earned the last of his three European Tour wins in 2009, had eight birdies in the thin Alpine air of the Crans-sur-Sierre club.
Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden and Oliver Fisher of England shot 65s late in the afternoon to trail by two strokes.
Paul Lawrie, who will play in the Ryder Cup in the United States next month, shot a 69. Defending champion Thomas Bjorn of Denmark had a 74, and Australian Greg Norman had an eagle in his round of 75.