Amateur Eric Ramsay showed fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie the way to tame the Old Course as he recorded a 68 to finish high on the Open leaderboard.
Montgomerie was three strokes further back on one under par at St Andrews.
And, for Australian Amateur champion Ramsay, it was some compensation for missing out on selection for Britain's Walker Cup side.
"I enjoyed it out there," he said. "Most of my game is in good shape and I'm not making many mistakes."
The 25-year-old from Carnoustie was continuing the form shown as he led qualifying at Leven Links.
Ramsay now heads the chase for the silver medal for the Open's leading amateur but has set his sights on turning professional after attending the European Tour qualifying school in September.
Former European number one Montgomerie admits that he is running out of time to win the major championship that has so far eluded him, but he steadied the ship after a despairing start.
He opened with a bounding drive at the first that plunged into the Swilcan Burn defending the green and resulted in a morale-sapping bogey.
"God almighty, it's the first time I've ever done that in 20 years of playing here," he said.
"It just got a big bounce and just ran out of room. It's an awful start to have a five at a hole which is a three and three-quarter hole."
Montgomerie hit back with birdies at the fifth and seventh to get back into sub-par territory and held it there through to the end of his round only to finish five strokes behind favourite Tiger Woods.
"It's ominous who's on top of the leaderboard," said Montgomerie. "Ominous.
"If there's a course built for him, it's this one. He won by eight shots last time here and who says he won't do the same again."
Meanwhile, the last Scot, and European, to win the Open, Paul Lawrie, was also off to a good start with a par 72 despite taking a six at the 17th, the road hole.
Murray Urquart and 19-year-old amateur Lloyd Saltman were one stroke further back.
Sandy Lyle, Scott Drummond and Douglas McGuigan had 74s, with Stephen Gallacher a shot behind, while Andrew Oldcorn had a 76 and Alastair Forsyth an even more disappointing 77.