Home favourite Tommy Fleetwood joined South African amateur Christo Lamprecht at the top of the leaderboard after hitting a five-under-par 66 on the opening day of the British Open at Hoylake.
Lamprecht shone on his debut at the majors after earning his place by winning the Amateur Championship last month.
The powerful 22-year-old, who stands 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 metres) tall, used his long levers to great effect around the Royal Liverpool course on Thursday.
“I earned my spot to be here. I think the way I played today I earned to be on the top of the leaderboard, as of now,” said Lamprecht.
Fleetwood, who hails from Southport, just 30 miles (48 kilometres) from the course, gave his chances of a first major title win a huge boost with a run of three consecutive birdies between the 14th and 16th.
“Such a special opportunity to play so close to home,” said the world number 21. “To have that support and play an Open, (I’m) glad I gave them some good golf to watch.”
Despite the glorious blue skies on the Wirral coastline, many of the stellar names in the field struggled at the 151st Open.
Back at the scene of his only British Open triumph in 2014, Rory McIlroy was one over through the front nine.
The world number two has been stuck on four major titles for the past nine years.
McIlroy came agonisingly close both at last year’s British Open at St Andrews and last month, when he missed out at the US Open by one shot to Wyndham Clark.
The 34-year-old headed to Hoylake full of confidence after a birdie-birdie finish in blustery conditions secured his first Scottish Open title last weekend.
But his putter let him down with a shocking miss from three feet for par at the eighth.
Masters champion Jon Rahm also took the turn at one over before his first birdie of the day at the 10th.
World number one Scottie Scheffler got off to a flying start as he was two under after four holes.
But the American needed a birdie at the last to move to one under for his opening round after dropping three shots in seven holes around the turn.
– Little LIV impact –
Defending champion Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka appear to pose the biggest threat from the group of players now regularly plying their trade in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
But Smith finished at one over par after an eventful round that featured four birdies and five bogeys.
Koepka, who won his fifth major at the PGA Championship in May, is four off the lead after turning around a difficult start with three birdies in the final eight holes.
France’s Antoine Rozner birdied two of the last three holes to close to one shot off the lead.
Clark and 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink are among a group on three under.
England’s Matthew Jordan hit the first tee shot at 6:35 am local time (0535 GMT) on the course where he is a member.
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The world number 329 is just three shots off the lead after carding a 69.
“I’m kind of running out of words to describe it,” Jordan said. “It was crazy, mental, loud, everything that I could have wished for.”