From Brian Keogh at Royal Birkdale
Wind guru Philip Walton bounced back from a nightmare start to leave some of golf's superstars in his wake.
The Dubliner dropped three shots in the first two holes but still shot a seven over 77 as Major winners Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and John Daly took 80.
Now the 1995 Ryder Cup hero wants to go out and make the cut in his first Major test for a decade.
But he insists he must hit more fairways after finding the short grass just 50 percent of the time in "playable" afternoon conditions.
Walton said: "I went straight right out of bounds at the first for a double and then bogeyed the next, which is not the start I was looking for,.
"I took a double bogey at the sixth as well. But I hung in there and it was a pity to finish par-bogey because I thought a 75 would have been a good score.
"I reckon I'll need a 72 tomorrow to make the cut. But I'll just have to hit it better because just didn't play well."
Walton was pleased with his form on the greens but he felt that the R&A could have taken the conditions into account and moved a few tees forward.
He said: "The course was playable but it was tough in spots. But the greens are pure. I putted well and it is just as well.
"I had a birdie at the ninth - a drive and an eight iron to 12 feet. In fact, I hit the driver all day out there. You had to do it.
"Some of the holes are playing very long, such as the 16th. I had 186 to flag there and hit a five wood that came up short. Normally a five wood goes 220 for me."