Rumford, the 2007 champion, was a stroke ahead of Simon Dyson, the Dutch Open winner two weeks ago who had a 63. At 65 were Miguel Angel Jimenez, Andres Romero, Christian Nilsson, Thongchai Jaidee, Alexander Noren and Danny Willett.
Rumford is back on the European tour after a year in the United States and has missed the last two cuts. He made birdie putts of 20 feet twice and 15 feet twice on the last four holes.
“I got my putter running hot,” he said. “I don’t know where this came from.”
Rumford was 11 under for the last 13 holes, including an eagle at the seventh from 15 feet and a 40-foot birdie at the 11th. On his opening hole, his drive struck a woman above the left eye.
“There was a lot of blood. It wasn’t nice. I haven’t spoken to her yet. They had taken her away and I didn’t see her at all,” Rumford said. “Lucky it wasn’t 2 inches to the left or on the temple or it could have been worse.”
Dyson shot eagle-3s on the first and 15th holes in a round that included three birdies and no bogeys. He said the Dutch Open victory was a big boost.
“It’s such a mental game and when you get a win under your belt it does wonders for your state of mind,” he said.
Rory McIlroy, who lost in a playoff last year, had a 67. Lee Westwood, chasing the European Order of Merit title, opened with a 71. Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion who is coming back from a wrist injury, shot a 74.
“I can’t really expect much more and I can’t be too hard on myself at this time,” he said.