The calm, collected Australian, with a passion for surfing, certainly made waves at Royal Lytham. A shimmering six-under 64, which had some of its sparkle dimmed by a bogey on the last hole, steered the 32-year-old to the top of the leaderboard with a card that equalled the course record and left him a stroke clear of Zach Johnson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Scotland's Paul Lawrie.
It was the kind of rousing charge usually reserved for the final round of a major but Scott, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, is clearly a man in a hurry. His progress at both the Masters and the US Open this season was hindered by sluggish starts and this was exactly the kind of burst from the blocks he has been looking for. When the starting gun sounded yesterday he was off and running and the trigger was provided by his caddie, Steve Williams, a man who knows a fair bit about major championships. The New Zealander won 13 of them with his old gaffer Tiger Woods and now he's trying to help his current boss win a first.
"It was surprising but very pleasing to go out and play some solid golf," said Scott, who was poised to tie the major-championship record of 63 until a poor tee shot on the 18th hole led to a bogey. "It's what I haven't done in the first rounds of the majors this year, and that was my goal here, to play today like it was Sunday and there was no tomorrow.
"I've been playing well at the majors but in the first rounds I've been shooting myself in the foot and making it too much work to get back in. Maybe I was being too conservative and too patient. Steve wanted me to go the first tee today like it was the 72nd hole and really get myself switched on from the first hole. That was a good little trigger."
While he misfired with a bogey on the third, Scott finally came out with all guns blazing and a 3 on the par-4 fourth sparked a profitable surge of six birdies over his next 10 holes. Further gains at the 15th and 16th had the eight-time PGA Tour winner on course for the first opening round of 62 in major championship history but a par on 17 was followed by a pulled 2-iron tee-shot on the last which spawned a dropped shot.
Nevertheless, this was still a very good day for a man playing in his 46th major. He's had seven top-10s in that time, including a share of second in last year's Masters and a tie for third at the 2006 PGA Championship. This is his 13th Open appearance. Lucky for some, he hopes.
"A major is what I dreamt of as a kid," said Scott, whose celebrated countryman Peter Thomson won the Claret Jug at Lytham in 1958. "It's been a good career, I've a couple of tournaments most years but I would say I haven't achieved what I wanted until I win a major."
As his latest campaign got underway, Scott, and the rest of the early starters, were greeted by near perfect conditions. The rain-softened links and a distinct lack of wind meant this golfing beast was hardly baring its fearsome teeth. There was still plenty of bite, though. Only three players in the first 10 groups managed to break par while James Driscoll, out in the very first match, trudged to the turn in 43, nine-over-par.
Lee Westwood, widely tipped to end his long quest for a maiden major, toiled to a 73 with Darren Clarke, the defending champion, staggering in with a 76. There were no such traumas for Scott or an inspired Lawrie, who chipped in twice for birdies at both the third and fifth and then covered the last five, one of the most demanding runs in championship golf, in three-under en route to his 65.
Lurking ominously behind was the prowling figure of Tiger Woods on 67. He certainly looked up for this particular hunt from the moment he launched his 5-iron tee-shot at the par-3 first to 12-feet and rolled in the birdie putt. The 14-time major winner was hitting every tee shot exactly where he wanted to, was showing a deft touch around the greens and needed only eight putts through seven holes to move to four-under. The Tiger was bounding along but a stream of pars slowed up the charge and when he found rough down the 15th, the former world No 1 did well to limit the damage to a bogey.
Woods' early roar may have settled down into something like a purr but the three-time Open champion was more than content with his position in a formidable top-10 that features seven major champions. "I felt like I had pretty good control, every ball was starting right on my line and this was good," said Woods, who found 13 of 14 fairways during a display of poise and purpose.
That score was matched by Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, the reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy, who clattered a spectator on the head with his drive on the 15th. The unfortunate soul inside the ropes was left with blood pouring from a wound while McIlroy's ball bounced off the bonce and landed out of bounds, leading to a double bogey.
Luke Donald, the world No 1, bogeyed the last in a level-par 70 to finish alongside Padraig Harrington, the champion in 2007 and 2008, who birdied his final hole.