Hugo is hunting his second Zimbabwe Open title in three years, and is locked in a four-way tie for the lead with Sunshine Tour veteran Sammy Daniels, rookie Dean Lambert and Zimbabwean Shane Pringle.
The quartet are one stroke clear of Zimbabwe's Travis Fraser, Joachim Backstrom, Jason Cayless and Nicholas Lawrence after the completion of the morning field.
'It was a tough day out there, but at least this is four strokes better than my first round when I won here in 1999,' said Hugo, who also finished second in this event last year.
Hugo believes his round could have been at least three strokes better if he did not struggle to readjust to the playing conditions after a tough year on the European Tour.
'I'm struggling a bit with my middle irons. I'm just not used to the difference in altitude yet. You come from the European Tour where the weather is terrible to here where it's great, and it's tough to convince yourself that where you're used to hitting a 6-iron you can now hit a 9-iron,' he said.
Daniels missed only one green for his 68, while Lambert's round suggests he may be hitting form at the right time going into the lucrative summer leg of the tour.
The Pretoria professional has admitted to being frustrated with his start in the paid ranks.
'I haven't been playing well, and I think it has a lot to do with the whole change from amateur to professional. It's silly because it's still the same game,' said Lambert, who carded a solid 66 in the final round of the Platinum Classic last week to earn him a fifth-place finish there.
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