British Open champion Shane Lowery joined forces with former winner Louis Oosthuizen and recent Spanish Open champion John Ram in the start of the fourth main race of the year in the Sandwich on Thursday.
England’s Richard Bland will hit the first ball in the 149th tournament, which will take place a year later after being canceled last year due to Covid-19.
“It’s a really great honour, something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Bland, who won his first European Tour event on his 478th start in May, said after the first round kicks off.
Play will begin at 0635 GMT at the Royal St George Links tournament undulating by the English Channel on the Kent coast in England.
Other notable groups in the first two rounds included four-time Champion Rory McIlroy, 2014 Open Championship winner, where he played alongside American Ryder Cup rival Patrick Reed.
American Phil Mickelson, who won his sixth NBA title in May, aged 50, will be alongside fellow countryman Kevin Kesner and England Ryder player Terrell Hutton.
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World number one Dustin Johnson will qualify alongside England Olympic champion Justin Rose and American Will Zalatores, while Bryson DeChambeau will be with fellow American Jordan Spieth and South African Branden Grace.
He will be joined by Northern Irishman Darren Clark, English amateur Joe Long and Austrian Bernd Weisberger.