Laird, the sole Scot in the field, carded six birdies as he opened with a four-under-par 67 to sit alongside Canadian Nick Taylor, his partner in last week’s Zurich Classic, as well as American duo Patrick Reed and Adam Schenk.
“I played really nicely today with just one little hiccup on the par-3 13th, my fourth,” said Laird of a double-bogey 5 there. “I just got a little too cut with my chip shot.
“There was only one other hole, the 18th, where I was scrambling. I just hit a lot of greens which is important around here while I gave myself a lot of looks and made some of them. Overall, I am very happy with the way I played.”
Paul Lawrie already has a reminder of his Champions Tour debut after being hit on the leg by a golf ball on the range in the build up to the Inspirity Invitational in Texas.
Now the Aberdonian is hoping it is his turn to make a mark at The Woodlands when he gets his campaign underway on the US-based over-50s circuit in the company of two well-kent faces, Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke.
“Was quite a painful morning as got hit on the leg by a ball hit from the other end of the range by a guy who turned out to be my playing partner,” reported Lawrie of his pre-event mishap on Twitter. “Really nice big guy, but it hurt like crazy.”
The event near Houston is the first of a double-header for Lawrie, who is also in the field for next week’s opening senior major of the season, the Regions Tradition in Alabahma.
“I arrived into Houston on Saturday, played the first of my three pro-ams on Monday then a second one on Tuesday with four juniors over nine holes, which is a great idea,” he said. “All the players and staff have been very welcoming and it’s been nice to see a lot of people I havn’t seen for a few years.
“My foot and back feel okay, but I have a lot of golf this week, which I’m a little worried about. But it will be good test to see where I am with it. I have hit it okay the last few days, but it still feels a little rusty.
However, I am starting to feel more comfortable each day and I very much looking forward to getting back competing.”
Matt Kuchar has become the first American to commit to this year’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
The four-time Ryder Cup player will be making his third consecutive appearance in the event when it is held for the first time at The Renaissance Club on July 11-14.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open over the past few years,” said Kuchar.
“I’ve had a good couple of runs at the title and always enjoy the great competition. I view the tournament not just as great preparation for The Open, but also as a challenge in its own right.
“It’s always a pleasure to play in front of the Scottish fans. They are always so knowledgeable and welcoming, and I look forward to getting back over there this summer.”
Scott Jamieson opened with a four-under 68 to sit joint-15th, three shots off the lead, in the Volvo China Open in Shenzhen.
Richie Ramsay also got off to a promising start with a 69 as Jorge Campillo took up where he left off from landing his maiden European Tour win in Morocco last weekend.
The Spaniard carded an eagle and five birdies in a bogey-free 65 to set the pace along with American David Lipsky and Tapio Pulkkanen.
Grant Forrest joined Jamieson and Ramsay in breaking par with a 71, but Liam Johnston had a 75.
A four-under 68 left Ewen Ferguson just one shot off the first-round lead in the Challenge de Espana.
The former British Boys champion made his score by storming to the turn in 31, five-under, at Izki Golf.
Compatriot Craig Ross also opened promisingly with 69, with newly-crowned Turkish Airlines Challenge champion Connor Syme carding a 71 along with Craig Howie and Scott Henry.
Kylie Henry and Carly Booth sit seven and eight shots off the lead respectively heading into the final round of the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at Emirates Golf Club.
Playing in the afternoon/evening session on day two, Henry shot a 73 under the lights on the Faldo Course after Booth had signed for a 75 in the morning session.
As overnight leader Leona Maguire also shot a three-over effort, on-form Spaniard Nuria Iturrios moved into a share of top spot on nine-under with Germany’s Esther Henseleit.
Dunbar’s Neil Fenwick holds a four-shot lead over Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) with a round to go in the Aberdeen Golf Links Pro-Am.
Fenwick followed his opening 64 at Royal Aberdeen with a 70 at Cruden Bay, where he carded five birdies, including back-to-back 2s at the 15th and 16th, to sit on seven-under-par.
Fox also had a 70 at Cruden Bay on day two to sit a shot ahead of third-placed Greig Hutcheon (Torphins).
Chris Currie (Erskine) and Sean Lawrie (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) are next on one-under, with the top five all playing their third and final round at Trump International Golf Links.