Maarten Lafeber, Kevin Na and Stephen Scahill each posted 4-under-par rounds of 68 to share fourth place. Scahill bogeyed two of his final four holes to drop to minus-4.
Coltart began his round on the back nine at Barseback Golf & Country Club. He kick started his round with a birdie at the par-5 12th, his third. He followed that up with back-to-back birdies from the 15th. The Scotsman rolled in his fourth birdie of the day at the par-4 18th.
Around the turn, his steady round got a little bumpy. Coltart dropped a shot at the par-4 second but came back to convert consecutive birdies from the sixth.
However, he could not maintain that momentum as he dropped another shot at the eighth. Coltart came back to birdie the ninth, from 40 feet out, for a share of the lead.
'I'm playing with a new putter and also putted with a glove on. Something I haven't done since I was a kid,' said Coltart, who sank three putts of over 30 feet. 'It felt really good and I managed to hole three big putts.'
Dougherty burst out of the gate with a birdie at the first. He quickly climbed to 3-under with two straight birdies from the fourth and capped a strong front nine with a birdie at the ninth.
He moved to 5-under with a birdie at the par-4 13th. Dougherty had a chance to hold the first-round lead by himself after a birdie at the 16th but he bogeyed the 17th to drop back into the share of first.
'I've been hitting good shots but not taking advantage of them and when I do have a bad hole I have another one straight after,' said Dougherty, who has been battling a glandular fever that makes him very tired since early May. 'A lot of the mistakes have been mental, whether that has been because I have been tired I don't know. But I played well today, a little blip on the 17th from a bad tee shot, but apart from that it has been a good first round.'
Gilford started his round with a birdie on the par-3 fourth. However, he stumbled to a bogey at the sixth. The Englishman then notched consecutive birdies from the seventh.
He kept rolling with a birdie at the par-5 12th and moved into a share of the lead with birdies on each of the final two holes.
Mark James and Carl Pettersson are among a group seven players tied at 3- under-par 69. Also in that group are Mathias Gronberg, Simon Hurd, Benn Barham, Greg Turner and Carlos Rodiles.
Michael Campbell, who won the Irish Open last week, headlines a group of nine players one shot further back at minus-2.
Graeme McDowell opened his title defense with a round of 1-over-par 73. He is in a large group tied for 53rd.