(CNN) -- Colin Montgomerie struggled to stay in touch as German Marcel Siem and England's Graeme Storm turned on the style at the Andalucian Open in Seville on Friday.
Montgomerie was presented with a memento to mark his 500th appearance, but fell away after a good start.
Playing his 500th European Tour event as a professional, Montgomerie was only one behind fellow-Scot Chris Doak after an opening 67.
But Europe's new Ryder Cup captain, whose last top 10 finish was nearly nine months ago, managed only a level-par 72 on his return and, with Doak taking 73, it was all change at the top.
Siem fired a 67 to reach nine-under and Storm a 66 to be only one behind along with France's Jean-Francois Lucquin.
Montgomerie is four adrift in joint 11th place with Doak after mixing five birdies with five bogeys, the last of them on the 18th when he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
"I played very badly and 72 is what you get when you play that way," Montgomerie told PA Sport.
Meanwhile, Jose Maria Olazabal missed the cut on four-over in only his fifth event since last May, but said he still intends to be at The Masters in Augusta in two weeks unless his health problems -- rheumatism and fatigue -- worsen.