Helped by a chip-in birdie at the 17th, MacIntyre signed for a two-over-par 74, matching Laird’s effort a few groups earlier after he finished with a bogey.
It was a gutsy effort from MacIntyre, who was being watched by his mum and dad, Carol and Dougie, after suffering a shaky spell around the turn.
Playing with fellow lefty and 2000 winner Mike Weir, MacIntyre holed a nine-footer for par at the first before well and truly settling any nerves as he got up and down from a greenside bunker at the next to open his birdie count in the event.
Two bogeys in the next three holes showed him what this place is all about before the spring was back in his step as a 34-foot birdie putt dropped at the short sixth only to give that shot back after a wayward second at the eighth required him to take a penalty drop from the trees.
That sparked a bad run for the Oban man as he dropped four shots in a row before rallying to cover the closing stretch in two-under, including a chip in for a birdie-3 at the 17th.
Laird, who won on the PGA Tour in Las Vegas in October to secure his return to this stage, started bogey-bogey before a birdie from six feet at the third seemed to settle him down as he then got back to level-par with a nice up and down from the left side of the green at the eighth.
It was a case of deja vu as the Denver-based player then started the back nine with back-to-back dropped shots and, though he got one of those back from six feet at the 16th, a bogey to finish would have been a disappointment for him.
Sandy Lyle, the 1988 winner, started brightly on his 37th consecutive and 40th overall appearance by following a regulation par at the first by confidently converting a four-feet birdie par at the next.
The 63-year-old shared the early lead at that point, but, after some ragged stuff, which started with a quadruple-bogey 7 following a knifed bunker shot at the fourth, thereafter, he signed for an 81 - his worst opening effort since an 86 in 2012.
It was also a tough day for Englishman Joe Long, who was going along nicely after four straight pars before a triple-bogey 7 at the fifth contributed to the Amateur champion taking a shot more than Lyle.
Ian Woosnam, who decided to reverse a decision to call it a day in this event so that he could play on the 30th anniversary of his win, reckoned he did well to open with a 76.
“I'm playing on one leg really,” said the Welshman. “I've strained my right groin trying to hit the ball a bit further. It had been bothering me all day yesterday from the first shot really, and it just got worse. I was thinking of coming in after 11.”