Indian qualifier Shiv Kapur was threatening to take the lead after the first round of the British Open at Muirfield on Thursday as he went out in six under 30 late in the day.
With the East Lothian links course playing fast and furious under a hot sun, the 31-year-old from New Delhi, who missed the cut in his only previous Open in Hoylake in 2006, birdied the first three holes to get his charge going.
His target as clubhouse leader was 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson who carded a five-under 66 earlier in the day when the going was less fiery.
A shot further back came rising Spanish star Rafael Cabrera-Bello and 1998 Open champion Mark O’Meara of the United States who had an eagle at the par-five 17th.
Four players were grouped on 68 - Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez and Americans Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and 1996 Open champion Tom Lehman.
Todd Hamilton, who upset the odds to win the 2004 Open at Troon, was on 69 and he was joined there by Angel Cabrera of Argentina, Jordan Spieth of the United States and four-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who won last week’s Scottish Open
The day proved disastrous for world number two Rory McIlroy who had two double bogeys en route to an eight over 79, the same as 56-year-old Nick Faldo.
US Open champion Justin Rose struggled as well to a 75, with defending champion Ernie Els one shot better off.
Tiger Woods reached the turn in one over 37 and then ducked under par with birdies at 10, 11 and 13.
Luke Donald was seven over after 14 holes with playing partner and defending champion and Masters champion Adam Scott on level par.
Phil Mickelson was more than mildly irritated by the army of helpers and officials allowed inside the ropes during his opening two-under 69 in the British Open first round at Muirfield on Thursday.
The American left-hander bemoaned the difference in organisational style between Europe and the United States.
“It’s a different culture over here,” Mickelson told reporters on another sun-baked day on the east coast of Scotland. “In the States we don’t have 90 people inside the ropes, we just have a few. “But it’s always been that way, I knew it coming over.”