Peter Lawrie of Ireland led the Sicilian Open by a stroke after shooting an 8-under-par 64 in the opening round on Thursday.
Lawrie, whose only win on the European Tour came at the 2008 Spanish Open, made nine birdies offset by a bogey on the par-4 13th at the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort.
''I've got off to a bit of a slow start this season, so I need to give things a bit of a kick and get going again,'' Lawrie said. ''It was more determination than anything.''
It was feared that winds coming in off the Mediterranean would make things difficult for those teeing off in the afternoon, but those worries were allayed by the likes of Lawrie and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.
Donaldson, attempting to win his first tournament in 249 attempts, continued his fine form of late by making five birdies and an eagle in a 65 to move into a share of second with Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark and Tano Goya of Argentina.
Donaldson shot a final round of 11 under to tie the course record in Morocco last week...