George Coetzee shrugged off patchy form to lead the field at the Turkish Open on seven-under par.
The 30-year-old missed seven out of 14 cuts from May and only made the opening event of the Race to Dubai's Final Series in Antalya when a number of players withdrew amid security concerns.
Coetzee, who teed off at the 11th, dropped just one shot, laying down an early marker as clubhouse leader and watching on as Thorbjorn Olesen was the only man to get within one stroke of his 64.
"I've been missing a lot of cuts, I was really lucky to get into this event this week and I'm just trying to make the most of it," the South African told the European Tour website.
"I've actually been playing better the last three or four weeks. The swing started to click a couple of weeks ago and I started shooting better scores and hitting better shots and it was just a question of putting everything together.
"I've been excited in the build up to this week. I'm just happy with the way things are going in my game and mentally, and obviously it shows on the golf course. I'm playing better, I'm in a better mood.
"I wasn't expecting to shoot 64 but I'm really happy with it."
There are four players sitting two shots back, with Matteo Manassero, Li Haotong, Bernd Wiesberger and Jorge Campillo in contention.
Danny Willett, who has his sights set on the Race to Dubai title, shot 69. The 2016 Masters champion needs a top-five placing to overtake Henrik Stenson at the top of the standings.