Shane Lowry may be a previous winner of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open but he admitted he still had nerves before an opening 66 put him right in contention at the second Rolex Series event of the season.
Lowry won this event as an amateur in historic style in 2009 and is playing his 11th consecutive edition at Lahinch Golf Club.
He also has a Rolex Series victory at this year's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA and a World Golf Championships title to his name but he admits his home open is something else.
"It's very hard to describe it," he said. "Over the years I've tried to dampen it or tried to take expectation off myself but it's just so hard.
"I was feeling quite anxious on the putting green before I went out but I was looking forward to getting out there and, obviously, it's beautiful weather here in Lahinch, so it's nice.
"Once I hit my first couple of shots, you're into your round and you're going and the adrenaline is pulling you through.
"There were huge crowds for how early we were teeing off and I think tomorrow is going to be mad out there. Hopefully I can give them something to cheer for at the weekend."
The 32-year-old bogeyed the third but picked up shots on the fifth and ninth to turn in 33 before taking advantage of the par five 12th.
He got a stroke of luck on the 14th as he hit the pin and made a birdie and, when he made it two out of two on the par fives at the last, he was four under.
"I've been playing nicely over the last while and I'm very happy where my game is at at the minute, long may it continue," he said. "But I've got three more rounds here.
"I'll try and go out and shoot as best a score as I can tomorrow and see where it leaves me and do the same Saturday and Sunday.
"I don't think I played completely great today. I missed quite a few fairways but the chances I did give myself, I took them. That's nice, that's nice to get off to a good start here."
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