Kevin Kisner benefitted from glorious conditions to take a one-shot lead in the first round of The Open as a familiar cast of stars including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas loomed in the shadows.
American Kisner signed for a five-under-par 66 at a baked Carnoustie on Thursday and the early signs were that lower scores were attainable as the day progressed.
But as the winds picked up slightly, the afternoon starters struggled to match the numbers posted by the morning tee-offs.
Kisner was one shot above the trio of Erik van Rooyen, Zander Lombard and Tony Finau, with Brandon Stone, Brendan Steele and Ryan Moore two shots back.
It is perhaps the likes of 2014 victor McIlroy, Rahm and US PGA Championship holder Thomas that will give Kisner most cause for concern, though, as part of a pack of players all on two under.
Tiger Woods threatened something special with two birdies in his opening four holes, including draining a 12-foot putt at the first, but three bogeys and just one gain in a stretch of six holes on the back nine slowed his progress and he finished even par.
Jordan Spieth will be disappointed not to have built on an electric start that saw him reach the 11th at three under. The defending champion had to play sideways out of a bunker en route to a double-bogey six at the 15th, and two more dropped shots – one after finding the Barry Burn with a wayward tee shot at the last – followed as he settled for a one-over 72.
Kisner may have been helped by the conditions, but the 34-year-old – part of a house-share that includes Thomas and Spieth this week – was in majestic form.
A bogey at the fifth was quickly followed by a lengthy putt for eagle at the par-five sixth and a birdie at the eighth preceded three consecutive gains between the 13th and 15th on the way home.
Even when he found trouble down the stretch, Kisner's unflappable putting – he played just 22 strokes with the flatstick – saved the day, including a fine rescue out of the bunker at the last.
With the warm conditions creating extremely quick fairways, the use of irons off the tee to focus on accuracy as opposed to distance was a common theme.
McIlroy went against the grain by regularly opting to use his driver, hitting only 26.7 per cent of fairways as a result.
But the Northern Irishman, aiming to end a major drought stretching back to 2014, spoke earlier this week of a desire to play with an aggressive, carefree attitude and despite his struggles staying on the short grass he carded only one bogey.
Thomas bucked the trend of the afternoon starters by racing to four under through 11 holes, although a couple of bogeys at the 12th and 16th prevented him finishing even higher up the leaderboard.
Rahm, who practised with McIlroy and Phil Mickelson in the build-up to Thursday's play, remains in contention despite two bogeys slightly negating four birdies.
World number one Dustin Johnson faces a battle to make the weekend as a triple-bogey seven at the 18th left him five over, while the likes of Sergio Garcia (+4), Patrick Reed (+4) and Bubba Watson (+4) all need to improve to extend their stays beyond Friday.
22. August 2018
|Independiente 0 Santos 0: Dogged defending preserves deadlock|
|Ceferin nominated for second term as UEFA president|
|Marseille have ´moved on´ from Balotelli deal|
|´Crazy´ Cheika his own toughest critic|
|McClaren defiant amid QPR woes|
|Lendl joins Zverev´s coaching staff|
|England captain Hartley ready for return|
21. August 2018
|Buttler happy to serve up a century as England dig in at Trent Bridge|
|PSV beat BATE in Champions League thriller, Benfica held at home|
|Mkhitaryan backs Emery´s philosophy at Arsenal|
|Championship Review: Leeds go top, QPR problems mount|
|Ronaldo shares snap of ´Juventus family´|
|Aguero is the Premier League´s best foreign import, says Shearer|
|Real Madrid warned they must pay Rodrigo´s €120m release clause|
|England´s Broad fined for Pant rant|
|India on brink of victory after brilliant Bumrah halts Buttler|
|Serena Williams elevated to 17th seed at US Open|
|Kombouare signs new two-year Guingamp contract|
|Scaloni unclear on Messi´s long-term Argentina plans|
|F1 Raceweek: Gasly and Alonso restore focus at Spa|
|Nouri able to communicate, brother reveals|
|Pjanic extends Juventus contract to 2023|
|Odegaard joins Vitesse in latest loan from Real Madrid|
|Luck ´sort of happy´ with sack from Suggs|
|Manchester United´s Sanchez will ´be back soon´|
|Former Giants star Cruz announces retirement|
|RFU set Cipriani disciplinary date despite RPA complaints|
|Spalletti fined €10,000 for ´gravely offensive´ referee comments|
|IndyCar driver Wickens has spinal surgery after Pocono crash|
|Tiger: No doubt this is one of my best years|
|Vice-captain Tiger trying to remain objective in Ryder Cup conversations|
|Ronaldo won´t win Serie A by himself, warns Allan|
|Moeen sends message to England selectors with double century|
|Brunt calls time on Northern Ireland career|
|Tottenham´s Janssen sidelined after foot surgery|
|Liu Xiang breaks women´s 50m backstroke world record at Asian Games|
|Atletico Madrid winger Vitolo suffers knee ligament damage|
|Leverkusen teen Havertz aiming to emulate idol Ozil|
|Beckham to be honoured with UEFA President´s Award|
|CPS drops Hillsborough charges against Bettison|
|Who can take over from Federer, Nadal & Djokovic? Agassi backs Zverev, Kyrgios|
|´Freak incident´ rules Dragons´ Vaughan out for season|
|Kompany: Different Manchester City must not be complacent|
|Toyota withdraw appeal over Alonso´s Silverstone disqualification|
|Manchester City offload defender Denayer to Lyon|
|RPA want RFU to drop Cipriani charge|
|Cheika still the right man for Australia - Polota-Nau|
|Bolt not giving up on Manchester United dream|
|All Blacks must improve ´average´ set-piece, says Smith|
|Raiola hits back at Scholes following Pogba criticism|
|Indians top Red Sox in series opener|
|Struff stuns Cecchinato, Jarry reaches last 16|
|I´ll prove people wrong - Bolt completes first Mariners training session|
|Former champ Kvitova tops Radwanska, Pliskova ousted|
|Sad if it´s Filipe Luis´ last game for Atletico - Oblak|
|White Sox manager Rick Renteria hospitalised before game|
|Carragher: Van Dijk can become Liverpool legend|
|No timetable for Sale return from shoulder injury|
|This is a partnership - Rodgers on contract negotiations with Packers|
|Eagles QB Wentz unsure he´ll be cleared to play opener|
|Balotelli staying at Nice|
|It wasn´t a penalty, says Hodgson as Palace boss fumes at refereeing decisions|
|Salah can play much better - Klopp demands more from Liverpool star|
|Gasly to Red Bull: Vettel, Verstappen and the drivers who took their Toro Rosso chance|
|Klopp in the dark on Karius future amid links to Besiktas|
|Simeone pleased with draw after rigours of Super Cup|
20. August 2018
|Captain Reus saves Dortmund in DFB-Pokal|
|I couldn´t care less - Klopp rejects title challenge talk|
|Ailing Bairstow keen to aid England´s unlikely victory bid at Trent Bridge|
|Redskins secure Peterson signing|