Australia's Terry Price and Sweden's Johan Edfors shared second place at 5-under-par 66 at Club de Campo.
Clement has had a difficult season on the European Tour after a successful rookie campaign in 2003 that saw him retain his card. He has missed his last eight cuts heading into this event, and his playing status for 2005 is certainly up in
'I just came here to prepare for the Q-school,' said Clement. 'But now I guess I might have a chance of keeping my card. I have been able to shoot low and only two weeks ago and I had a 65 at Kingsbarns in the dunhill links, but I have been far too inconsistent.'
Clement parred his first three holes before picking up his first birdie of the day at the par-5 fourth. He then birdied the par-5 seventh to make the turn at 2 under.
The 23-year-old added a birdie at the par-4 10th, but found trouble with a bogey at the very next hole. Clement caught fire soon after, however, with the first of four consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 12th.
Clement then birdied the par-3 17th to secure the outright lead after Round 1, and give himself an early chance at redemption in what has been a disappointing year.
'I had a very bad season,' said Clement. 'I progressed a little bit. My game is better I guess. For the moment I don't think about it. We'll see maybe on Sunday.'
Edfors is also in need of a strong showing to keep his card. He played the back side first and tallied four birdies over his first nine holes to go out in 31.
The 29-year-old stumbled to a bogey at the second, but countered with back-to-back birdies from the third. Edfors dropped another shot with a bogey at the sixth, but was able to respond again with a birdie at the following hole.
Price, who would like to move into a position to gain a spot in next week's Volvo Masters, mixed eight birdies with three bogeys to finish two shots off the pace.
Trevor Immelman, Nick O'Hern, Brian Davis, Bradley Dredge, Peter Fowler, Darren Fichardt, Paul Broadhurst and Jesus Maria Arruti shared fourth place at 4-under-par 67.
Colin Montgomerie was one shot further back in a group at 3-under-par 68.
Defending champion Ricardo Gonzalez managed a 2-over 73 to finish nine shots back.