The 27-year-old reeled off four birdies in a three-under 69 to finish two shots behind the joint leaders, Mikael Lundberg and Adam Gee.
Since he was beaten in a play-off at the Madeira islands Open in the middle of May, Henry has missed the cut in both events he has played on the European Tour, in Spain and Sweden, but he got to grips with the tricky conditions yesterday and tucked himself in among the early pacesetters. "It was tough and the wind picked up; it was a different course to the one I played in practice," said Henry. "The conditions were tricky in Sweden last week too but I didn't handle them well. I did today, though."
Peter Whiteford and Andrew McArthur both opened with one-over 73s while Craig Lee posted a 74. Alastair Forsyth had been two-under through five holes but shipped six shots after that and eventually signed for a 76.
Out in front, Gee fired an eagle, four birdies and one bogey to card an opening five-under-par 67, which was matched by Lundberg as the later starters made the most of improving conditions in Austria.
Starting from the 10th, the world number 693 opened with three pars before holing his second shot to the 13th for an eagle 2, proving that practice certainly does make perfect.
"Funnily enough, I'd done some work yesterday on the range on a few different distances and a similar one came up on 13," said the 33-year-old, who retired after his first round in this event in 2012 and has won less than €20,000 on the European Tour this season after gaining his card via the qualifying school.
"You obviously need a slice of luck to hole one from range, but it was nice to see it disappear. You get enough bad breaks in this game, so it's nice when one goes your way."
Lundberg, whose two European Tour victories came in the Russian Open in 2005 and 2008, birdied two of his last three holes to match Gee's score, with English pair Richard Finch and Matthew Baldwin, Welshman Rhys Davies and American Berry Henson a shot behind.
On a crowded leaderboard a further 19 players were within three shots of the lead, including France's Thomas Levet, who compared his golf to that of the late Seve Ballesteros after an erratic 69.
Levet, who famously broke his leg when celebrating his last European Tour title in the 2011 French Open by diving into a greenside lake, said: "I played well after the drives, but my drives were a bit like Seve - left, right and sometimes straight.
"It's been like that all season long. I'm working on it and it's a little better, but today I got lucky a few times in not losing balls off the tee and that made the difference."
The best example of that came on the par-five 15th, where Levet hit his drive 100 yards right off the tee but stopped just short of a water hazard. From there he opted to play down a different fairway, then hit a two iron from 227 yards to eight feet and holed out for birdie. "Easy golf," the 2002 Open runner-up joked.
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a 70 to finish three shots back.