John Daly, the 1995 Open winner at St. Andrews, shot 66 and is tied with Scotland's Andrew Coltart, Britain's Steven Tiley, Bradley Dredge of Wales and Sweden's Peter Hanson.
Tiger Woods, who has won two of his three British Open titles at the home of golf, carded a 67. The world No. 1 is in a large group of golfers at minus-5 that includes fellow Americans Sean O'Hair, Nick Watney and Lucas Glover, and third-ranked Lee Westwood of England.
Winds stiffened as the day went on, making it more difficult for afternoon players like second-ranked Phil Mickelson, who carded a 73 and will be playing to make the cut on Friday.
Defending champion Stewart Cink (sink) could do no better than a 1-under 71. And the man he beat in a playoff last year at Turnberry, 60-year-old Tom Watson, signed for a 73.
U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland opened with a 71.