Luke List equalled the Gullane course record to hold a one-shot lead after the opening day of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
The 33 year old American, whose only professional victory to date came on the web.com Tour six years ago, fired nine birdies and two bogeys in a seven under par 63.
That was one clear of compatriot Rickie Fowler, Swede Jens Dantorp, Spain's Scott Fernandez and English pair Robert Rock and Lee Westwood.
And afterwards List revealed missing an early birdie chance had spurred him to go low.
"I three putted number two, the par five," he said. "It seemed like everybody - to walk away with par, that woke me up a little bit and I got off to a good run after that and holed a lot of mid-range putts, which I haven't been doing in the last month or two, so nice to see a few puts go in.
"The wind is a little tricky on the back, a bunch of crosswind and that left-to-right into on three or four holes, so that's a bit tricky out there and I just managed to make a few mid-range putts and that helps the scorecard.
"The weather changes so much around here so hard to say if it will be a good draw or bad draw, but I think not too early is good. I get to sleep in a little bit and hopefully get some fresh greens and get after that.
"It's been over a dozen years since I've been to the UK to play golf, and my first Open next week, so excited about that. Got some good memories here.
"A dozen years ago, played Palmer Cup in southwest Scotland and come up here to Muirfield with my family here, so it's been a great start.
"I haven't gotten off to a lot of fast starts in first round of tournaments I've played, so it's nice to get near the lead or even in the lead."
Fowler, who won this event in 2015 the last time it was staged at Gullane, carded five birdies, a single bogey and an eagle in his opening round.
After a hat-trick of gains from the second, Fowler drove the par four sixth and holed his putt for eagle as he raced to the turn in 30.
In near-perfect conditions, Fowler looked to be on course to threaten the course record when he birdied the 11th and 12th.
However, he tangled with a bunker on the 13th to drop his only shot of the day.
"I love playing links golf and being able to use your imagination and hit different shots," said Fowler.
"I feel like this golf course, you go around and you hit pretty much every club in your bag.
"It's just fun. Especially once the wind starts to blow a bit."
Rock hit six unanswered birdies in a flawless round, with Dantorp and Westwood also bogey-free, while Fernandez mixed six birdies with two bogeys and an eagle at the long second.
"There's a sense that things are getting back to where I wanted to be," said Westwood. "I'm hitting the ball on flights I haven't seen for a while but I'm hitting a lot of good putts on the greens."