The six-time major champion made six birdies -- including a 3-foot putt at the last -- in the first round of the Senior British Open at Muirfield, where he won two of his three Opens, in 1987 and '92.
It looked like the Faldo of old at Muirfield. From the tees, he found the fairways with ease, staying away from a deep rough that has been made more difficult by weeks of heavy rain. He hit accurate approach shots to the pins to roll in three close-range birdie putts in a row from the third.
But it was his birdie at the last that gave him the most satisfaction after he hit a 182-yard, 6-iron within 3 feet of the flag.
'I went for the shot. I thought, right, just squeeze one up close -- and I did,' said Faldo, who had his 18-year-old son Matthew carrying his clubs. 'That was very pleasing.'
Faldo's accuracy was all the more remarkable because last week's British Open was the only tournament he had played in for several months. And he missed the cut at Carnoustie.
He went out with Tom Watson (70) and Mark O'Meara (72), a trio with a combined 16 majors.
O'Meara is another newcomer to seniors golf this season. While Faldo's opening tee shot found the rough, O'Meara's ball landed in a fairway bunker. Both bogeyed the first hole while Watson made par.
But Faldo was quick to recover, his accuracy getting him close to the pins and enabling him to hole from 3 feet at the third, 5 feet at the fourth and 4 feet at the fifth.
Two more birdies at No. 7 and No. 9 meant he reached the turn in 4-under 32. Finding the fairways off the tee, Faldo parred the next four holes before bogeying the 14th after taking three to reach the green.
Faldo's accuracy deserted him at the 17th, hitting into the rough both right and left before leaving a 25-foot putt inches short to ultimately bogey.
'You bounce in and out of the emotions,' Faldo said. 'It was great. There were chances on this golf course the way it was playing, and I was very pleasantly surprised I was able to take advantage.
'I've just got to keep going. Hopefully I can settle into a rhythm. That's the whole secret.'
While it was no real surprise to see Faldo atop the leaderboard, Stockton wasn't expecting to be there.
The American has not played Muirfield since 1972, around the time he won two PGA Championships and was runner up in the Masters and U.S. Open.
'I'm 65 now, so my game is rusty,' said Stockton, who only played the championship because his son and caddie, Ronnie, had never been to Scotland. 'I know I've made the course a hell of a lot easier for a lot of players, when they see my name up there, going: 'How the hell is he up there?' I've peaked a little early, which is not good.'
Jon Chaffee, an American who is yet to win a tournament on the Champions Tour, shot a 73 but that included an ace at the 191-yard 13th. Chaffee won a bottle of wine for each yard of the hole as a prize.