Wentworth - England's Chris Wood was one of the early pace-setters as the European PGA Championship got under way at Wentworth, near London, on Thursday.
The 27-year-old Wood was safely in with a first round 68, four-under par, to share the lead with a pair of Spaniards in Jorge Campillo and veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez who were both in the clubhouse and the big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts level with the trio and standing on the 15h tee.
But world number one Rory McIlroy was having a mixed day in his defence of the title he won here last year.
The Northern Irishman was one-under par with four holes to play thanks to a birdie on the par-3 14th after a lacklustre front level par front nine.
McIlroy, a winner in the United States last week, had opened by dropping a shot on the first and made a sloppy bogey on the fifth and let another shot slip at the 13th.
Wood was out in 33 and five-under the card on the 17th tee but dropped a shot at the par-5 although that was the only blemish on his card.
Campillo finished with a flourish, making a birdie four at the 17th and eagling the par-5 18th to build on his encouraging seventh place in last week's Spanish Open.
Another Spaniard, Pablo Larrazabal was a shot back after an opening 69 and Sweden's Robert Karlsson was three-under with six to play.
Jimenez had a run of three birdies in four holes from the 13th, but some big names were struggling on a benign day for golf.
Paul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, was five-over after 12, South Africa's Ernie Els two-over with two to play and Anders Hansen, the winner here in 2002 finished with a 74 - two-over par.
Scotland's Craig Lee had a hole-on-one on the 141 metre par-3 second but immediately gave a shot back on the par-4 third and had a double bogey five on the fifth to stand at two-over the card.
US Open winners Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell were amongst the afternoon starters as was Luke Donald who needs a good finish here to ease his qualifications worries for the US and British Opens.
The field in the European Tour's flagship event are competing for a purse of 5 million euros, an increase of 250 000 euros on last year's prize fund.