He played just two and a half holes in practice due to a series of minor mishaps but Peter Lawrie still managed to card one of just 13 sub-par rounds to give himself a chance of turning his season around in the Made in Denmark event at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort.
The 40-year old Dubliner has made just three cuts since he saved his tour card with that gutsy share of 18th in the Perth International last October. But having fallen more than 200 places in the world rankings this year alone and at 187th in the Race to Dubai, a one under 70 for a share of fifth behind Thomas Bjorn, Felipe Aguilar and Bradley Dredge in Aalborg could be the boost he's been looking for.
"I was delighted to be honest," Lawrie told European Tour Radio's Nick Dye after making four birdies and three bogeys in testing conditions. "I've been here since Monday. I played two and a half holes in practice and walked the course because i had no clubs on Monday (because of air travel problems). So I am delighted to shoot under par having not played the golf course.
"Then there was that thunderstorm on Tuesday and I wasn't in the pro-am. So it was difficult going out today on a golf course I had never played."
Bjorn, Aguilar and Dredge shot five under par 66s to lead by three shots from Dane Thorbjorn Olesen with Lawrie tied for fifth.
"It's typical Irish weather here — nice and windy with it coming off the right and off the left," he said Lawrie, who has struggled off the tee again this season. "Conditions were tough but the golf course was good. The greens were good as well."
In the midst of remodelling his game, Lawrie is keeping his fingers crossed that he will soon see the fruits of his hard work on the range having struggled for the past two years.
"Slowly but surely (it's coming together)," he said. "I made some changes and have to stick with it. And I have been sticking with it. But it has been difficult and hopefully this is the start of good things to happen."
Asked about what's happened with his game since he dramatically saved his card in the final counting event in Perth last year, Lawrie said: "I've put in an awful lot of work with nothing being given back to me at all.
"I really have struggled all year. Not struggled on the range but just struggled bringing it out onto the golf course. I am just looking forward to knuckling down and playing well the next couple of weeks."
Having considered putting his clubs away for a while earlier this year, Lawrie is back after a four week break and keen to get going again.
"I've spent some quality time with the family for a change and come out relaxed and enjoying it."
Hoping to take another step towards a Ryder Cup return by clinching his 16th European Tour win on home soil, Bjorn said: “It was a tricky day today with the wind, especially on my back nine. But I drove the ball really well and that gives you opportunities on this golf course. So I’m happy with the day, happy with the start and it was pretty solid all the way round.
“I don’t think there is any added pressure this week. You are coming off some big weeks, The Open and PGA, where you feel the pressure anyway, so I don’t think you feel added pressure here. I’ve played so much big golf of late that I feel quite comfortable out there.
"I have a lot of great support which is nice to come home to and it felt good today. Obviously if it gets to the weekend and I’m up there it might be different. You want to go all the way in your home country, but we will deal with that on the weekend.”
Michael Hoey and Damien McGrane are a shot inside the projected cut mark after two over 73s with Gareth Maybin (75), Simon Thornton and David Higgins (76) and Kevin Phelan (82) all struggling to make the weekend.
Phelan's round was not for the superstitious as he ran up a 10 on the par-five 13th to end the day 152nd of the 154 players who finished the round.