Shane Lowry carded a stop-start 70 to trail Bill Haas by six shots after the opening round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona.
The Clara man (30) never got any momentum going on the slick greens on the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale, finishing the day tied for 46th as Haas compiled a bogey-free 64 to lead by two shot from Chris Kirk, Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Bryson DeChambeau, Chesson Hadley and Gary Woodland on seven-under-par.
Having missed the cut on his 2018 debut in last week's Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, Lowry was looking for a good start and got it when he holed out for birdie from just off the green at the 10th.
He then made a nine-footer for another birdie at the par-five 13th but then undid his good work when he was forced to reload after an errant tee shot at the 14th and made a double-bogey six.
He recovered with back-to-back birdies, rolling in a 12-footer at the par-five 15th before earning a huge cheer when he hit his tee shot to four feet at the iconic 16th.
He might have birdied the driveable, 348-yard 17th but left himself a difficult putt from 90 feet and three-putted for par.
He then followed a three-putt bogey from 36 feet at the second by holing a six-footer for a birdie four at the third.
But missed a chance from six feet at the fifth before failing to get up and down from 15 feet off the green at the sixth, missing a five footer.
World number two and former Arizona State star Jon Rahm is just three behind Haas after a 67, outgunning but not overshadowing playing partner and mentor Phil Mickelson, who shot a 70.
Rahm said. “Phil is Phil, he’s one of the great ones in golf and especially here… I would cheer for him if I could. It’s just how it is."
Clarke battles back in Malaysia
In the weather-delayed Maybank Championship in Malaysia, Darren Clarke has a fighting chance of making his first cut on the European Tour since the 2016 Open Championship.
While he started with two bogeys at Saujana Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, he made six birdies in a level par 72 as in-form Englishman Chris Paisley carded a bogey-free 65 to lead by a shot from David Horsey.
Gomez tops at Staysure Q-School
At the Final Stage of the Staysure Tour Qualifying School in Portugal, Argentina's Rafael Gomez closed with a 66 to win the race for just five cards by four shots on seven-under-par from English amateur John Kemp.
The others went to Paul Streeter, David Shacklady and Argentina's Mauricio Molina, who edged out Paraguay's Angel Franco with a par at the first extra hole after they tied for fifth on two-under.