The Englishman had six birdies, plus an eagle on the 18th, to lead Swede Martin Erlandsson (64). After an early bogey, Erlandsson had five consecutive birdies.
Patrik Sjoland, Shaun Webster and Tom Whitehouse shared third place with 65s. Lee Westwood (66) had three birdies on his first five holes.
'It is unusual to be disappointed about a 66 -- but I am,' Westwood said. 'I was really disturbed by people taking pictures all the time and children playing around. They made it hard to concentrate and I missed some silly shots.'
Markus Brier, who won his first major title in Oberwaltersdorf last year, shot 70.
Colin Montgomerie, who had a double bogey on the par-3 seventh hole, finished at 73. Darren Clarke (73) had a double bogey on the 17th.