The Northern Irishman was playing his first match since winning the Champion of Champions on Sunday.
Mark Allen comfortably won his first match in the German Masters qualifiers on Thursday with a 5-1 victory over Gao Yang in Milton Keynes.
The 34 year-old, who beat Neil Robertson a few days ago to triumph in the prestigious Champion of Champions invitational, started slowly and lost the opening frame against his Chinese opponent.
However, after winning a scrappy second frame on the colours, Allen added breaks of 126, 95, and 70 to complete his easy progress.
Robertson, though, was not so fortunate as the Australian bowed out at the opening hurdle following a 5-4 loss to Ben Woollaston.
The Melbourne man has reached two finals this season already and featured in the title-deciding encounter of last season’s German Masters too, but Woollaston won the decider with a break of 73.
Mark Selby, winner of the European Masters in September, is also out after a surprise 5-3 reverse against Fergal O’Brien.
It marks the first time this campaign that the former world number one has been eliminated before the semi-final stage in a tournament incorporating a conventional format.
New top 16 member Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and four-time ranking event winner Ali Carter were among the other high-profile names to exit prematurely – losing to Mark Joyce and Nigel Bond respectively.
Elsewhere, Jack Lisowski won the last two frames to see off a spirited effort from Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo, while Luca Brecel denied James Cahill in a final-frame thriller.
Tour newbies Peter Devlin and Pang Junxu, last season’s Rookie of the Year Louis Heathcote, and Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg were among the others to advance to the second qualifying round.
The final preliminary stage begins on Friday with several intriguing ties to look forward to, including an all-Scottish clash between Stephen Maguire and Alan McManus.