David Lynn admitted his cautious approach to course management reaped handsome rewards after he celebrated his Masters debut with an opening 68.
The English journeyman set the early clubhouse target as a testing four under par with an excellent six-birdie round, blighted only by bogeys at the 10th and 17th.
The 39-year-old calmed his nerves with a rare birdie at the first, and he picked up further shots at eight and nine before playing the feared Amen Corner in two under.
Another birdie at 15 was offset by a mistake at the penultimate hole, and he credited his performance on not taking on too many flags and not fearing the greens, on the advice of former Ryder Cup star David Gilford.
Lynn said: "Everyone said playing here was about the percentages and talking to an old friend of mine, David Gilford, who came here for the first time and shot a 67 in the first round.
"He said 'Don't be too intimidated by the greens. There are birdies out there,' so I had that in my mind as well.
"I was on the ninth and my caddie said 'You're leading the Masters.' He just looked at me and smiled. I said 'I'd rather be leading it Sunday afternoon' but it's obviously not a bad thing to see your name up there and something you could always look back on.
"But there's a lot to be done for the rest of the week and hopefully I can keep my name up there.
"It's taken me a golfing lifetime to get here. You do feel like you know the place, because you see it that many times on TV. It's fantastic."
Lynn enjoyed nine holes of practice with playing partner and 1991 champion Ian Woosnam, who was impressed by the debutant's relaxed manner.
"I'm not taking any credit for his round," said Woosnam, who struggled round in 80. "He was very relaxed and seemed to have the right attitude, does not get too upset and plays within himself.
"He is hitting the ball really straight, everything at the flag and is putting well. He did not do too much wrong."