The Paisley golfer teed off at 7.30am in ideal playing conditions at the European Tour event's new venue just outside Inverness.
However, organisers are expecting the worst weather of the week in the first round today – with winds set to gust at up to 25 miles an hour.
And that is sure to test a world-class international field that includes superstars like Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood to the full.
Competition director Mike Stewart said: "The overnight rain has taken a bit of fire out of the course and that's not a bad thing as it was becoming a bit bouncy.
"It will help scoring but, at the same time, the conditions today are expected to be the toughest of the week due to the wind gusting up to 25mph. The tee at the par-3 fourth will be up 20 yards or so."
Castle Stuart general manager Stuart McColm is confident the links course will hold up well to the adverse weather conditions which have been forecast.
"We were a bit nervous when we saw heavy rain was forecast for yesterday so we put an Armageddon plan in place at the weekend," he said.
"We were definitely tested a bit yesterday but neither the course or the car parking areas have churned up, which is great."
Of the wind, which was blowing from an east/south- easterly direction, McColm added: "This will test the players and it will be intriguing to see what the scores are like."
Meanwhile, Westwood and Peter Lawrie stormed into an early first-round lead.
Playing in the first group of the day, Lawrie, a 37-year-old from Dublin, bagged five birdies in a sensational outward half of 31. But the former Spanish Open winner's score could easily have been so much better as he missed makeable eagle putts at the second and sixth holes.
Westwood, one of the favourites to land the Claret Jug at Royal St George's next week, charged up the leaderboard with an eagle at the 18th, his ninth.
The world No.2, who won this event at Loch Lomond in 1998, birdied the 12th and 17th holes before his eagle.
And the European Ryder Cup star followed up on that by calmly rolling in a five-foot birdie putt at the first to join Lawrie on five-under.
That duo found themselves a shot ahead of a group of three players early on. Links specialist Chris Wood, who finished fifth in The Open at Royal Birkdale in 2008 as an amateur, was four-under after 11 holes.
Defending champion Eduardo Molinari, who won two tour events in Scotland last year, recorded four birdies in his first 10 holes.
Home favourite Colin Montgomerie, who can book a place in The Open next week if he finishes in the top five here, was three-under after nine holes.