Rory McIlroy celebrated his 18th birthday in style when he fired a four-under-par 67 to trail leader Lloyd Saltman by two shots after the first round of the Lytham Trophy.
Walker Cup squad member Saltman hit a superb 65 at the Lancashire links to lead on six under par with Kenny Le Sager in third place after a 68.
Eight players share fourth place on two-under-par including Walker Cup panelists Nigel Edwards, Gary Wolstenholme, Paul Waring, Glenn Campbell and Ben Evans.
Reigning US Open champion Richie Ramsay hit a 70 to share 12th place on one under.
Co Louth's Simon Ward is the next best of the Irish in 21st place after a level par 71 with Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney on two over after 73.
Esker Hills' Shane Lowry hit a disappointing four over par 75.