Catlin came into the event less than a week after securing his fourth Asian Tour victory in Thailand and continued in the same form, recording six birdies and 12 pars on the Lakes Course as he looks to secure an immediate return to the European Tour.
The 29-year-old admitted he relished the opportunity to compete in Europe for the first time this season, with his best finish a tie for 12th at Made in Denmark presented by FREJA, but knows there is still a long way to go before he seals his 2020 playing rights in the six-round contest in Tarragona.
“It’s only one of six rounds and it’s definitely a nice way to start but there’s still a long way to go. I remember liking this track at last year’s event and the Hills was the course I definitely struggled on, so to come out and take full advantage of that was a good way to start” said Caltin.
He will begin day two with a one-shot advantage over a group of six players on five under par, which includes 2018 Final Stage joint-champion Alejandro Cañizares, Dane Benjamin Poke, Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Sami Valimaki from Finland, England’s Toby Tree and Italian Lorenzo Scalise.
Meanwhile Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who narrowly missed out on his European Tour card after finishing 16th at the Challenge Tour Grand Final last week, German Hurly Long and Italian Aron Zemmer, who won the European Tour Qualifying School Second Stage event at Club de Golf Bonmont, sit one shot further back on four under par.
Catlin returns to action on the Hills Course at 9:50am local time, with Cañizares also continuing his bid to regain his European Tour card on the Hills Course at 10:20am.