Padraig Harrington showed no signs of rust as he carded an opening 69 to sit just one shot off the lead after the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The two-time champion arrived in Scotland following two weeks that had seen him miss the cut at the Portugal Masters and then serve as a Vice captain in Europe's glorious Ryder Cup victory at Le Golf National.
The 47 year old admitted he felt a little worried he would not be mentally prepared to take on Kingsbarns Golf Links on Thursday but he showed the form that brought him back-to-back top fives in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands in recent weeks.
He turned in level par but birdied the third and sixth, holed a long putt on the seventh and saved par on the next after playing a remarkable bunker-shot from a tough stance.
“It was scary,” he said. “I missed the cut, I had 11 days off the golf course.
“I started hitting shots on Monday, so a couple of days hitting shots and my first round was on Wednesday - 11 days - and it's completely different hitting one on the golf course.
“I thought I would never be ready for today but there you go, a little bit of focus, a little bit of, I suppose, being in competition, it sharpens you a little bit.
“I was really good mentally today, which I thought I was going to struggle, but happily surprised.”
Matthias Schwab was also three under after firing an impressive 69 at Carnoustie on a classic links day when high winds made scoring very difficult.
The Austrian had missed the cut at both the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open so was happy to make his mark on links again.
“You might want to think I don't really play well on links courses but I've had a few good results on links courses,” he said.
“I like links golf. I'm sure if you think well and stuff like that it can suit anybody's game, really. I think my caddie and I, we had good talks before shots and all that stuff and good strategy, so it worked out today.”