Damien McGrane produced a rip-roaring finish to lead the Irish charge in the BMW Asian Open in Shanghai.
The Meath machine reeled off four birdies in his last six holes on his way to a two under par 70 at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club.
McGrane recovered from a double-bogey six at the 16th with four birdies on his inward nine.
But that still left the Irish star four shots adrift of first round leader Raphael Jacquelin in a share of 12th place.
The French ace had seven birdies and just one bogey in a sizzling 66 to leave pre-tournament favourites Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Paul Casey tailing in his wake.
South Africans Goosen and Els had to settle for rounds of one under par 71 with Casey a shot further back.
The English star, 29, complained that his preparations had been disrupted after his suitcase failed to arrive from Augusta, where he finished tied 10th.
Casey groaned: "I've got all sorts of stuff in my suitcase to prepare properly and I've not been able to do it, so that's been annoying. It arrives on Friday I think.
"But I still have to get on with the golf event. I've tried very hard to put it to one side but I won't say it hasn't affected me"
Colin Montgomerie hit a bogey free 69 but star draw Daly crashed to a seven over par 79 that featured six bogeys and a triple bogey eight at the ninth.
The rest of the Irish contingent failed to break par with Graeme McDowell the best of the bunch after a 73.
Gary Murphy had two sevens in a round of 74 with Peter Lawrie struggling to make the cut after carding six bogeys in a 75.