Teenager Nicolai Hojgaard lit up the back nine on day one of the Qatar Masters to take a one-shot lead.
The 18-year-old Dane, runner-up behind Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open last season, started with a seven-under 64 to hit the front at Education City Golf Club.
Hojgaard hit the turn in 35, then birdied seven of the next eight holes before a second bogey of a stunning opening round ensured he had to settle for the slenderest of advantages.
Joost Luiten is hot on Hojgaard's heels after signing for a six-under 65 in Doha.
The Dutchman dropped just one shot at the eighth in a promising start to the tournament.
Hojgaard's compatriot Jeff Winther is among six players two shots off the lead along with Lorenzo Gagli, who finished in a share of 10th place at the Oman Open last week after being withdrawn before the first round prior to a negative coronavirus test.
Andy Sullivan, Carlos Pigem, Thomas Pieters and Jorge Campillo also carded 66s on Thursday.
Defending champion Justin Harding and Sami Valimaki, winner of his maiden title in Oman last weekend, are six strokes adrift of Hojgaard.