Henrik Stenson started the defence of his Open title alongside arguably the greatest threat to his crown in Jordan Spieth as both registered first-hole pars on Thursday.
The Swede recorded a stunning triumph at Royal Troon last year as he prevailed in a remarkable final-round tussle with Phil Mickelson that saw the duo shoot 63 and 65 respectively.
Stenson goes into the 146th edition of golf's oldest major priced at considerably longer odds than playing partner and joint-favourite Spieth.
But, teeing off at 9:47am local time in a trio completed by Kim Si-woo, the 41-year-old found the middle of the fairway on a first hole that had seen only two birdies at that point.
He went on to hole a tap-in par, with two-time major winner Spieth and Kim following suit.
Many have found the opening hole, a tough par four, much harder, with Mark O'Meara - Claret Jug winner at Birkdale in 1998 - carding an eight, while several players have racked up fives, sixes and sevens.