Francesco Molinari hit a ten under par round on the opening day to lead the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.
The 29-year-old shot a 62 to hold a three-shot advantage ahead of Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen and Raphael Jacquelin of France on seven under.
Five players sit in a group one shot further back with world number one Luke Donald on five under par.
Stephen Gallacher, Marc Warren and Gary Orr are all vying for the title of leading Scot at the tournament after they recorded rounds of four under (68) on Thursday.
Molinari’s last European Tour win came in May when he claimed the Open de Espana which also saw Kjeldsen finish as runner up.
Andrew Johnston earned 168 bottles of champagne after securing a hole in one at the par three eleventh.