Rory McIlroy shot a brilliant 64 to lead the Scottish Open after day one at Aberdeen.
Rory McIlroy again displayed his ability to start quickly at the Scottish Open in Aberdeen.
The Northern Irishman has developed an admirable trait of taking the round one lead, and with the likes of Martin Kaymer and Mikko Ilonen recently posting wire-to-wire tournament wins, he will be happy to lead from the front.
McIlroy's course record seven-under par total on day one earned him a one-shot lead over Kristoffer Broberg of Sweden and Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez.
Seeking to prove he has the game for links golf ahead of the Open at Hoylake next week, McIlroy displayed an impressive array of shot making.
Afterwards he declared intense practice of lower ball flight and fewer spin shots as the key to his success - traits he believes will be important both in Scotland and at next week's Open Championship.
Accurate off the tee, McIlroy made just a solitary bogey in his opening round and picked up eight birdies en route to a 64.
The former world number one is looking to make it successive European Tour wins having claimed the PGA Championship at Wentworth in May on his previous start.
Compatriot Michael Hoey also continued his run of good form during the opening round.
After turning in one-over par, Hoey was faultless on the back nine. Four birdies were the foundation for success while he also holed his second shot into the 15th for an eagle that propelled him into fourth place.
Gonzalez overhauled McIlroy for a brief time in the early afternoon but the 45-year-old was unable to keep his terrific scoring run going.
After six birdies, an eagle at the par-five 12th earned him the outright lead on eight-under par.
Despite dropping shots at the 13th and 16th, Gonzalez will be pleased after missing the cut in both the Irish Open and BMW International Open last month.
Broberg, teeing off first at 6.30am, also started strongly with six birdies in his opening 12 holes.
The Swede could only add six pars as he set what would turn out to be a short lived course record 65.
Despite the cold and windy conditions in the Highlands, 40 players managed to break par on day one.
With a stellar cast taking the chance to hone their skills ahead of Hoylake, the leaderboard is not surprisingly littered with star names.
The previous three winners of this event find themselves under par after the opening round.
Luke Donald is best placed after a bogey-free round saw the 2011 champion sign for 67.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson appeared destined to join Donald on four-under par only to make his only bogey of the day on the closing hole.
The American has not enjoyed a strong 2014 campaign thus far and will be quietly content inside the top ten.
Jeev Milkha Singh, winner two years ago at Castle Stuart, endured a frustrating day.
Despite making six birdies, he found the Balgownie links in an unforgiving mood and eventually settled for a one-under par round of 70.
Former Open champion Darren Clarke dropped two shots in the final four holes as he shot an opening round 70.
That left Clarke alongside the likes of Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Matteo Manassero and Nicolas Colsaerts on two-under par.
Hopes of a home winner remain intact with Marc Warren, David Drysdale (both -4) and Russell Knox (-3) giving Scotland three players inside the top ten.
Ian Poulter, Joost Luiten and 2012 Open champion Ernie Els are among those hovering close to the potential cut line on two-over par with another Claret Jug winner Louis Oosthuizen labouring on four-over par after round one.