Reigning Staysure Tour Number One Paul Broadhurst joined four Americans at the top of the leaderboard after day one of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
The Englishman, who won The Senior Open at Carnoustie in 2016, carded a three under par 67 to place himself in prime position for a weekend charge as he bids for his third Senior Major Championship victory in as many years, also winning the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2017.
The 53-year-old completed his round in twilight just before play was suspended at 9.15pm local time. Earlier in the day, high temperatures eventually gave way to thunderstorms, which forced two suspensions in play totalling two hours and 45 minutes.
"I'd have taken that when I started – it took seven and a quarter hours to complete, so it's been a long day. I'm so pleased we got finished. I didn't think we would complete the 18th and I wasn't looking forward to going out at seven in the morning to play one hole.
"I haven't started too many tournaments really well this season. I've been shooting one-overs and then having to make up ground on the second or third round. To get off to a good start is a nice bonus."
Equalling the low round of the day on the Lancashire links were Americans Wes Short Jr and Scott Dunlap, while compatriots Scott Parel and Ken Duke — also on three under par — will close out their opening rounds tomorrow morning.
Playing in his first Senior Open, Northern Irishman Darren Clarke made a strong start to his title shot with a two under par 68. The 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year is aiming to become only the fourth player in history to win both The Open and The Senior Open.
Colin Montgomerie also added his name into the mix as he began his pursuit of a fourth Senior Major, and first Senior Open crown, with a bogey-free two under par 68 to join Clarke, Americans Tom Gillis and Woody Austin, as well as Sweden’s Magnus P Atlevi in a tie for sixth place.
The first round will conclude when the action resumes tomorrow at 7.10am local time. Second round tee-times will continue as scheduled.