Rory McIlroy kept himself in contention to overhaul Luke Donald at the top of the world rankings after he posted an opening round 70 to trail by five shots in the Wells Fargo Championship.
The 22-year-old was playing at Quail Hollow in North Carolina as he attempts to get back to number one in the world, requiring a top seven finish to achieve the feat.
McIlroy shot four birdies in his two-under-par total, while world number three Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods are both one shot further back after rounds of 71.
The Ulsterman won the tournament in 2010, but was unable to make the cut last year, and could have made an even better start had he not three-putted on the 18th holes.
"I feel the conditions were pretty perfect, there wasn't much wind and the greens were receptive so 70 probably wasn't good enough," said McIlroy.
"I strugggled with the driver, didn't hit many fairways and if you do that round here you'll struggle to score."
It was a good day for the American trio of Ryan Moore, Stewart Cink and Webb Simpson who all impressed to reach seven under, to take a one shot lead into day two.