Lee Slattery was the early leader when the ISPS Handa Wales Open began at The Celtic Manor Resort.
The Englishman moved to three under par through ten holes to lead by one from Thongchai Jaidee, Marcus Fraser and José Manuel Lara.
Paul Lawrie, second in The Ryder Cup points race after his runner-up finish in the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday, birdied the 11th and remained one under after three.
He was playing with Captain José María Olazábal, who kicked off with a bogey six.
Four of the 2010 European side that won The Ryder Cup at this venue were present. Ross Fisher, Miguel Angel Jiménez and brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari were all among the later starters.
Making his European Tour debut as a sponsor's invite was the Duke of Roxburghe's son Ted Innes-Ker. The 28 year old, a friend of Pippa Middleton from their university days, was not setting his sights too high, saying that making the cut was "a tall order" - and he double-bogeyed the 465 yard first.
Lawrie double-bogeyed the 14th and then, after a birdie on the next, bogeyed the 16th and 17th to stand two over along with Olazábal, who also dropped another shot on the 17th.
Defending champion Alex Noren, joint winner of the US Open Championship qualifier on Monday, was having trouble as well. After an opening birdie he double-bogeyed the next and bogeyed two of the next four to stand three over.