England's Mark Foster started the outward half with back-to-back birdies to claim the lead during the second round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Beaten in a play-off last year after bogeying the par five final hole, Foster stood eight under and one ahead of Ryder Cup-bound Paul Lawrie.
The 43 year old Scot, who last played against the Americans in 1999, admitted he was grinning "like a Cheshire cat" about sealing his second cap.
"I don't think you can underestimate how much the Ryder Cup kind of plays on players' minds," said Lawrie after his opening 68.
On his return to the course that will stage the 2014 match he birdied two of his first four holes - actually the 11th and 14th - and added another at the 18th.
Lawrie was playing again with Francesco Molinari, the other player in the field certain to be up against the Americans in Chicago, and the Italian remained four under.
Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who needs a top two finish to earn a Cup debut and push Martin Kaymer out of an automatic spot, was among the later starters. He was in a tie for eighth following his first round 69.
Joint third were Australian Brett Rumford and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who by winning would miss out on a Ryder Cup place by less than two world ranking points.
More than five years on from his last win Colin Montgomerie forced his way onto the leaderboard at The Gleneagles Hotel.
The 49 year old tournament chairman - Europe's Ryder Cup Captain two years ago - used the final counting event for next month's match to find his form again all of a sudden.
Only 510th in the Official World Golf Ranking now and 173rd on The Race to Dubai which he has won a record eight times, Montgomerie had four successive birdies in a row on the back nine.
He then had a chance to make it five in a row and go into the joint lead when he was just off the green in two at the 18th, but his chip failed to run down the tier in the green and he had to settle for par there.
Five under par for the day and the week as a result, the Scot was up from 39th to fifth, but he found himself three behind Foster.