Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht outscored the professionals to set the clubhouse lead on his Open debut as 50-year-old 2009 champion Stewart Cink rolled back the years to put himself in contention.
The 22-year-old Lamprecht, a 6ft 8in South African who qualified by winning his title at Hillside just up the coast in Southport a month ago, posted an impressive five-under 66 to set the mark for some of the bigger names going out later in the day.
His round was the lowest opening 18 holes by an amateur in a major since England’s Tom Lewis shot 65 in 2011 at St George’s.
Cink, the man who denied five-time champion Tom Watson’s potential fairytale Open victory at the age of 59 at Turnberry 14 years ago, also found some form to follow him home on three under.
There was also a dream start for Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan, given the honour of hitting the first tee shot at 6.35am after coming through final qualifying at nearby West Lancashire, who carded a two-under 69.
Lamprecht reeled off three birdies in four holes from the third as he turned in 32 and picked up another shot at the 10th where he holed a 13-foot putt.
The big-hitting South African’s aggressive approach got the better of him at the 387-yard par-four 11th when his drive off the tee found the rough and ended in his first bogey of the day.
However, he chipped in from the front of the 14th and then also birdied the 602-yard par-five 15th to get to five under and, although he bogeyed the next, he was on in two at the par-five last and two-putted for his seventh birdie of the day.
Cink turned in 33 after birdies at the fifth and seventh and picked up a further shot at the 15th to finish bogey-free two strokes behind.
Two shots further back was Jordan, a member at Royal Liverpool since the age of seven, who found his feet after a nervy opening hole which required a 14ft par save.
Cheered on by a supportive crowd which included family, friends and fellow members of the DP World Tour, he birdied the second and then produced a brilliant three-wood approach to 10 feet from 256 yards at the par-five fifth, which just carried the greenside bunker to set up a two-putt birdie.
He turned at two under but after his second bogey of the day at the 11th, where he found himself up against the face of a bunker, he bounced back with a birdie at the 16th.
On his reception during his round, Jordan – who holds the course record of 62 – said: “Amazing. I’m kind of running out of words to describe it. It was crazy, mental, loud – everything that I could have wished for.
“I’m certainly trying to think of a better experience than that, and I don’t think I can.”
Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood got to two under through 11 holes with world number one Scottie Scheffler a shot further back.
The controversial new 17th hole claimed its first victim with Lucas Herbert, joint-leader at the time on three under, making a triple-bogey at the 126-yard hole.
He missed the green to the left, chipped across the putting surface into a bunker, left his next in the sand and eventually finished with a six.