France's Gregory Bourdy and India's Jeev Milkha Singh shot 7-under 65 on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the first round of the Irish Open, while home favorite Rory McIlroy was five strokes back after a sloppy finish at Royal Portrush.
Bourdy was in one of the last groups of the day in the round that was delayed by rain and lightning.
McIlroy, the U.S. Open champion, bogeyed two of his last three holes for a 70 on the Dunluce Links. Fellow Northern Irish stars Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke shot 71.
Englishmen Mark Foster and Andrew Marshall were a stroke back along with Australia's Matthew Zions, Sweden's Oscar Floren, Finland's Mikko Ilonen and France's Edouard Dubois. Ireland's Padraig Harrington had a 67.
John Daly opened with a 70, and Keegan Bradley had a 73.
The European Tour said organizers had to put sold-out signs up at a regular tournament for the first time after 27,000 tickets were sold for each day's play in Portrush.
The tournament was last played in Northern Ireland in 1953 and at Portrush in 1947. The course was the site of the 1951 British Open.