Mark Laskey won his private Open battle with Welwyn Garden City colleague Thomas Shadbolt, outscoring him by just a stroke at Sandwich.
Laskey, who plays at The Shire, fired a three-over 73 on his Open debut at Royal St George's, while Brocket Hall's Shadbolt was a shot back after a 74.
Former Welsh boys player Laskey's one birdie came at the short sixth.
Shadbolt recovered well after letting three shots go in his first five holes, his highlight being a birdie at 12.
"I got off to a bit of a poor start which put a downer on the whole round," said Shadbolt.
"You know you're going to get some bad breaks on a links course and I had some divot shots, but you just have to keep your head when that happens.
"I hit some good shots into the last two and hopefully tomorrow things will change.
"I've got supporters here from Mid Herts and Brocket, as has Mark.
"And Tom Lewis, who grew up at Mid Herts with me and played for England at the same time as me, is here too.
"It's brilliant for Hertfordshire golf and Welwyn as a town. Amazing really."
Laskey admitted: "It was a pity to finish with a bogey, but I played really solid.
"I'm still playing well enough to shoot a low one. Just making the cut is the first target now."