Alejandro Canizares fired a 10-under 62 on Thursday and that gave him a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Trophee Hassan II.
Canizares, the 2006 Russian Open winner, has made the cut in all six of his starts and has a pair of top-10 finishes this year.
Seve Benson, who is winless on the European Tour, is one stroke off the lead as he carded a 9-under 63. Magnus A. Carlsson and Connor Arendell share third place at minus-7 at Golf du Palais Royal.
Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last year, opened with a 6-under 66. He was joined in fifth place by Marc Warren and Andy Sullivan, while Peter Whiteford and Gaganjeet Bhullar are one shot back at minus-5.