Amazingly the Irish quartet of McGinley, Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey and Gareth Maybin all finished with four-under par 68s to lie three shots behind joint leaders Bernd Wiesberger and Ricardo Gonzalez.
Austria’s Weisberger and Argentina’s Gonzalez took full advantage of earlier ideal scoring conditions to post seven-under par 65s.
McGinley, playing on the Centenary Course which will stage the biennial contest next year, said the “chances were slim” of him making a fourth Ryder Cup team as a player when he was appointed captain in January, but was more emphatic after a round containing five birdies and just one bogey.
“To be honest I think I won’t even have myself on the points list,” said McGinley, who holed the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 and also played in the record victories in 2004 and 2006.
“If I start playing well it’s a big bonus but one thing is for sure, there’s no way I can be a playing captain. I’ve had a good round today but I’ve had a mediocre season, probably a poor season, to be honest so far.”
McGinley felt a course playing much firmer than in previous years and with less severe rough suited his game, but he will seek input from likely team members before deciding how to make the most of home advantage next year.
“The jury is still out at the moment, but it’s been a huge learning curve to go to the other end of the scale in terms of the set-up of the golf course this week,” added McGinley, who took plenty of notes in his yardage book on the way round.
“I lost a ball with my second shot into the 15th last year and I was probably three yards left of the green. This year it’s good rough, but not unplayable. I don’t know which way we’ll go yet, but it’s good to get both perspectives.”
Shane Lowry, playing alongside McGinley, quickly raced to four under par after just four holes courtesy of a second hole eagle, where he sank a 24-footer, and then birdies at three and four.
However with the wind picking up the World No. 82 stalled to complete his closing 14 holes in level par.
“It was decent start and it could have been a lot better I had a lot of chances and one birdie putt horseshoed out at the 16th,” he said.
“But it was certainly tough out there, cold and windy, but I drove the ball really well and I am happy with that start.”
Hoey is returning to competition for a first time since capturing the recent Russian Open and capped his round with four birdies in a seven hole stretch from his fourth hole.
“I’ve have had a couple of weeks off but even though I have got that win behind me I have still got a lot to play for,” said the World No. 188.
“I want to qualify for the big tournaments at the end of the season and get back into the top-100 so I get into the USPGA next year. And this round was a good opener.”
Maybin didn’t drop a shot in his best start in 19 events this year.