Lawrie had five birdies and a bogey to go with two eagles for his 64. He's two strokes ahead of John Bickerton and three up on Rhys Davies and Shiv Kapur. Seven other players are tied for fifth at 4-under.
The tournament field is split between the Golf du Palais Royal and the Golf de L'Ocean course for the first two days before playing the final two rounds at the Golf du Palais Royal course.
Bickerton, who had a bogey-free 5-under 66, was the only player among the leaders to play Golf de L'Ocean Thursday.
Davies had six birdies and a bogey in a 5-under 67, a score that was matched by Shiv, who had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys in his first round.
Lawrie, playing the back nine first, opened with an eagle at the par-5, 551-yard 10th hole and posted back-to-back birdies at Nos. 16 and 17. He added a birdie at the first hole but bogeyed No. 3.
His second eagle came at the 572-yard fifth hole and he jumped to 8-under with birdies at seven and eight.