Rory McIlroy blamed some errant tee shots for his one-over par opener to the second tournament of the PGA Tour restart, the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
The world number one slumped to a three-over par outward nine of 38 filled with misfires before fighting back gamely to produce two birdies and no dropped shots on his inward half.
In the end it was 72 all up for McIlroy (+1) who trails England’s Ian Poulter and USA’s Mark Hubbard atop the board at seven-under par.
“I’m sort of missing my three wood left and missing my driver right,” said McIlroy who finds himself outside the top-100 on the leaderboard after his opening effort.
“If you’re in any way in two minds what to do off the tees around here and get a little bit sort of guidey, it can bite you.
“I got a little better towards the end and hit some decent tee shots but I’m going to work on it a little bit this afternoon and see if I can straighten it out.”
McIlroy, who was outspoken pre-tournament about those in Europe declining the opportunity to join up with the PGA Tour for this run of events, perhaps put himself under more pressure than was necessary to perform from the off. He’ll now face a battle to ensure he makes the halfway cut.
44-year-old Poulter has no such worries after backing up a top-30 at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge with a stunning 64 around a course that’s yielded three top-11 finishes in his last three visits.
“Anytime you shoot seven under par on this golf course, it’s a pretty solid day,” Poulter reflected.
“It’s a great course. I love coming here. It’s a fiddly, testy, tricky golf course.”
At the time of writing, Shane Lowry is level par through 7 holes and Graeme McDowell is one-over through 6.
Full scoring HERE