The dunhill links is much like the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour as players are paired with amateurs for the first three rounds and are spread over three courses.
Each of the three leaders posted their scores at Carnoustie Golf Club. The other two courses used are Kingsbarns Golf Links and the Old Course at St. Andrews Golf Club, which hosted the 2005 British Open Championship.
Sam Torrance carded a 4-under-par 68 at St. Andrews. He shares fourth place with nine other players. Bradley Dredge, Kenneth Ferrie and Keith Horne shot their 68s at Kingsbarns, while Nick O'Hern, Brett Rumford, Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Brian Davis and Nick Dougherty posted their 68s at Carnoustie.
Beem opened with a birdie at the 12th, his third. He came back two holes later with a birdie on the 14th, the other back nine par-5. The 2002 U.S. PGA champion converted another birdie try on the 15th. After dropping a shot on 16, he closed his opening nine with a birdie at the last.
The 35-year-old played the front nine in minus-1 with a birdie on the par-4 fourth. That got him to minus-5. He parred out from there.
'I hit the ball well today and I putted great,' said Beem. 'I think your short game has to save you around here and mine did today. I made a lot of good up and downs and while I didn't hole a lot of long putts, I hit them all solid.'
Howell also started on the 10th tee at Carnoustie. Like Beem, Howell opened with birdies on 12 and 14. The two-time winner on the European Tour tripped to a bogey on the 15th.
The 30-year-old parred four straight holes around the turn, but Howell got that lost stroke back with a birdie on the second.
Howell jumped to minus-4 when he holed a shot from 160 yards out for eagle on the par-4 seventh. Howell then birdied the ninth, his last, to share the lead.
'I am confident at the moment and I have learned over the past couple of years that if I play nice golf I generally contend in tournaments, which means I don't have to worry,' said Howell. 'I couldn't ask for any more at the moment, things are going great.'
Tadini played the front nine first and played it at even par with a birdie on the fourth and a bogey on the par-4 ninth. Around the turn, the Italian caught fire.
The 31-year-old birdied the 10th. Tadini ran off four straight birdies from the 12th to move to minus-5. However, he stumbled to a bogey on the 16th before getting that stroke back at the last with a birdie on the par-4 closing hole.
'I putted beautifully today and that is the reason why I am where I am. I practiced here Wednesday, but the wind was different today,' Tadini said. 'I'm delighted especially because the last time I played here was in the Amateur Championship back in 1992.'
A group of 13 players are two shots off the pace at 3-under-par 69. Included in that group are Eduardo Romero, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Christian Cevaer and Anders Hansen. Molinari is playing with his brother Edoardo, who won the U.S. Amateur championship earlier this summer.
Defending champion Stephen Gallacher is well off the pace as he opened with a 2-over-par 74 at Carnoustie.