Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts overcame a lack of preparation, partly caused by the fact he was doing some media work at last week’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin, to open with an eight-under-par 64 at St Andrews.
Helped by eagles at the fifth and 14th, where he rolled in a 30-footer, the effort earned him a share of the first-round lead with Spain’s Adri Arnaus, Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Haotong Li of China.
“It's my lowest one at St Andrews, and I've come here with no game whatsoever. I haven't played 18 holes in two weeks,” said the three-time European Tour winner.
“Once you start to play well at the Home of Golf, it's a pretty nice feeling when you hit the shots and making two eagles on the two par 5s and birdie 18, you basically tick every box on the Old Course, which is nice.”
The 2012 Ryder Cup winner has Tom Chaplin, the lead singer with British rock bank Keane, as his partner in the team event, while another pop star, Ronan Keating, was also in his group alongside Eddie Pepperell.
“It's an amazing week,” said Colsaerts of the pro-am. “I don't know how many of these I've played, but I'm lucky enough to play with Tom, a lovely guy.
“We played together a couple years ago. It's nice to be out in the company of really, really cool people that you wouldn't get to meet on a daily basis. I think that's what stands out this week.”