Higgins had an eagle and Bransdon a string of five consecutive birdies in taking the lead. Simon Nash was third at five under and seven golfers were tied for fourth at four-under-par 67.
Higgins was one under through seven holes before he birdied No. 8. He jumped up the leader board with an eagle at the ninth hole. Higgins continued his string with a birdie at 10 to get to five under and gained another stroke at the 17th hole.
Bransdon, who started on the back nine of the Val Course at Aa Saint Omer Golf Course, parred his first hold but then ran off five straight birdies. He had six straight pars before a birdie at No. 4 moved him to six under and a share of the lead.