The former Longniddry amateur looked to be in for a tough day when he opened with a double-bogey 6 in the Tartan Tour event and then dropped another shot at the second.
It was all mostly positive from then on, though, as he carded eight birdies, coming home in 30 as he signed for a four-under-par 67. That score was matched in the first of three circuits by both Thomas Higson (Gleneagles Hotel) and Banchory’s Andrew Pillans.
Higson, winner of a Young Pros’ Order of Merit Sprint Series event at Duddingston last month, signed for six birdies, including three in a row on the front nine, as did Pillans.
Winterfield’s Zack Saltman hit a bogey-free 68 to sit fourth, a shot ahead of both Chris Curran (Bathgate) and Steven O’Hara (North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd).
Elsewhere, Scottish champion Gemma Batty got off to a decent start in the Ladies British Amateur Championship at Hillside with a one-over-par 73 at the tough Lanacashire venue.
Chloe Goadby and Hannah McCook shots 76s, Connie Jaffrey and Clara Young had 77s and Hazel McGarvie had to settle for an 80.