Scotland's Richie Ramsay carded a six-under-par opening round of 65 to open a two-shot lead at the Andalucia Masters.
The 28-year-old ex-US Amateur champion was out in the first group of the day and had five birdies and an eagle.
Ross Fisher, a lowly 83rd in the world rankings, suffered a triple bogey but seven birdies lifted him into second.
Sergio Garcia, seeking to emulate fired a 70 to share fifth, with five birdies, an eagle, four bogeys and a double bogey.
Garcia coasted to victory by 11 shots last weekend and again looked likely to grab the main headlines after chipping in at the 11th to reach four under, but eventually had to settle for a one-under-par score.
Ramsay, who was third in that event, made only one mistake when he took six on the 536-yard 17th, missing the green with his pitch over the water into the wind.
Despite the late blemish he said: "Valderrama is the kind of course that suits me. It's a shot-maker's course. You need to manoeuvre the ball right to left or left to right, sometimes you need the low shot or the high one and I feel comfortable doing that."
Fisher, who made his Ryder Cup debut last year but is yet to record a top-five finish this season, suffered at the 350-yard eighth, the shortest par-four on the course.
The 30-year-old Englishman hit a tree with his drive and went out of bounds.
Justin Rose, playing only his fourth event in Europe this year, had a 72 and defending champion Graeme McDowell began with a 73.
Nick Dougherty, the former world number 46 who has dropped to 837th in the rankings, brought up the rear after a 13-over round of 84.
The 29-year-old former World Boys Championship winner has made only one of 28 cuts since last November and had two double bogeys and took a triple bogey seven at the seventh.