The two-time European Tour winner had a slow front nine and made his first deviation from par with a birdie at the ninth. After that he began to attack a little more and was rewarded with birdies at the 11th and 13th.
Aggressive golf can be costly at the 6534-metre course and Otto felt the pinch at the 12th and 16th, which left him one-under-par with two to play.
But ahead lay the par-five 17th, where the 37-year-old laid-up for a birdie that would put him into a share of 21st on two-under. Also tied on the number were Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari.
Up at the top it was a battle between Alvaro Quiros, Simon Dyson and Alexander Levy, all of whom shot five-under-par 67 for the first round to share the lead.
David Horsey and Brett Rumford were both knocking on four-under-par, while tournament favourites Ian Poulter and Peter Uihlein loomed on three-under.
For 2011 South Africa Open Champion Otto it was a case of keeping touch, which he achieved. Tomorrow he’ll look to gain some ground on the frontrunners as he sets out to secure Euro win number three.