Cormac Sharvin. Photo by Goilffile
Cormac Sharvin and Jonathan Caldwell both carded 69’s, to lie five shots off the lead at the inaugural Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open.
Caldwell had two birdies, an eagle and two bogeys while Sharvin fired in three birdies but dropped a shot on the par 5 18th.
There was nothing to separate Mitch Waite and Johannes Veerman at the top of the leaderboard.
Englishman Waite and American Veerman both made an eagle in their opening 64s at the stunning Aphrodite Hills Resort to sit a single shot clear of their nearest challengers - Andy Sullivan, Sami Välimäki, Joël Stalter, David Drysdale and Jamie Donaldson.
Oliver Farr and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, who were in the two groups with one hole of their first round still to complete when play was suspended due to fading light, were part of the logjam on five under. They will finish up at 08.30 on Friday morning.
Waite, playing in just his fourth European Tour event, set the pace in favourable morning scoring conditions after following up a front nine 32 that contained four birdies with an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys on the homeward nine to jump to seven under par.
Veerman joined Waite at the summit around an hour later after adding five birdies to his eagle at the tenth in a sparkling first round effort.
Things could have been even better for Veerman, who had an eagle chance at the 18th from around 12 feet, but his putt narrowly avoided the hole and he had to settle for a closing birdie.
Waite, who is in the field courtesy of a tournament invitation this week, made a bright start, carding birdies at the second, third, sixth and eighth to reach the turn in 32.
A brilliant eagle at the tenth saw Waite grab a share of the lead before a birdie on the next took him to the summit on his own.
Waite's first bogey of the day came along on the 13th but he bounced back straight away with a birdie from around eight feet to return to seven under.
The Englishman would drop another shot on the short 15th but he did not let that affect him, taking advantage of the course's next par three - the 17th - with a birdie putt from 12 feet.
Waite had the opportunity to extend his lead to two shots with a putt from a similar distance at the long 18th but he narrowly missed his birdie try to head into the clubhouse on seven under.
He was delighted with his first round performance, saying: "I feel very good, I played nicely today.
"I’ve just had a good attitude from the beginning of the week, I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain so I just need to get out there – it’s a scoreable track – hit some good shots and see what we get out of it."
Veerman made his first birdie of the week in style, holing his bunker shot on the second hole before picking up another shot at the eighth to turn in 34.
After opening his back nine with an eagle, Veerman carded back to back birdies at the 14th and 15th before closing his round with a tap-in birdie at the last.
Veerman said: "I hit it really well today. I think I only missed one green. Well actually, on that note, I missed one green but I holed out so I missed one green but I made it.
"I hit it really well off the tee. I think I hit almost every single fairway out there, it was really consistent, and when you’re playing well and you keep giving yourself chances for birdie, it feels great.
"It was a little windy in the practice rounds but it wasn’t so windy out there today. In a way, that made it a little bit easier from what we were used to on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the course, I mean it’s in such an amazing shape, it’s pristine.
"If you’re hitting your lines and you’re playing from the fairway, you can go low around here.