Host Paul McGinley is just one shot off the lead after the opening round of the Irish Legends presented by his Foundation at Rosapenna as Denmark’s Steen Tinning set the early pace.
The 55-year-old former European Ryder Cup captain had a hot back nine, carding five birdies – including four in his last five holes – and one bogey to go with two bogeys on his front nine for a two-under 69 at the Old Tom Morris Links.
That has him one shot behind Tinning, who was the only player to get to three-under as five birdies and two bogeys led to a 68 that has him atop the leaderboard by himself after the opening round.
McGinley is joined tied for second by Emanuele Canonica, Paul Eales, Jarmo Sandelin and Markus Brier, all of whom also opened with 69s in Donegal, with Paul Lawrie and Michael Jonzon the only other players to finish under-par after a pair of 70s.
Indeed, scoring proved tough at Rosapenna in the first round as only 17 players succeeded in avoiding going over-par, which means it could be a high-scoring tournament on the Legends Tour.
Brendan McGovern was the next best Irishman in the field as two birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey led to a one-over 72 and a share of 18th.
The only other local player competing, Philip Walton, had an adventurous opening round that consisted of six bogeys, three double-bogeys and two birdies in a 10-over 81 that has him tied for last alongside David Gilford.