Adam Scott was left to rue a lack of course knowledge but remains in contention after the opening round of the third US PGA playoff event.
Scott fired a four-under-par 68 to sit in a tie for 16th, four shots behind world No.1 Rory McIlroy, Canadian Graham DeLaet and Americans Webb Simpson and Bo Van Pelt who all shot equal course-record eight-under par 64s.
McIlroy is chasing what would be his third win in four starts after winning the PGA Championship last month and the Deutsche Bank Championship last week.
Former world No.1s Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh sit just a shot behind the leaders in a tie for fifth, leaving a tantalising leaderboard in the early stages of the 70-man elite event.
Crooked Stick Golf Club was hit with storms and rain in the lead-up to the event, limiting practice time on the course at a place virtually the entire field has never played before.
Hosting the playoff event for the first time, the benign conditions provided low-scoring opportunities and only 10 players were over par for the opening round.
But for Scott, not seeing the back nine holes prior to the round proved costly.
The Queenslander was steaming along nicely at six-under par through 15 holes before a couple of bogeys dropped him down the leaderboard.
He three-putted the 16th green for his first dropped shot after misjudging a slope on the green with his approach shot and then drove the ball into a horror spot on the last into deep rough.
His approach squeezed out well short of the green and barely stayed dry and then his pitch shot went 16-feet long, leaving a slick downhill par putt he promptly missed.
"I only played 10 holes in practice so it was a bit of a lottery for me after that," Scott said.
"Now I am familiar with those holes hopefully I'll come home a little better tomorrow."
Scott expects the birdie blitz to continue over the final three rounds and is hopeful he can get his poor putting of recent weeks to improve.
"I played good and I am somewhat in touch. It is just going to be a birdie-fest all week so hopefully the putter can get really hot for the next three days," he said.
"I rolled it pretty good today on the front nine. Made a few good ones.
"But I just didn't take advantage of the par fives today.
"It's going to be a low score again for the winner so I am going to have to at least have mid 60s twice, which is a bit of a daunting task, but I'm paying well so I'm confident I can get amongst it.
"The greens are pretty pure and there are only 70 guys so they should stay in good shape."
Geoff Ogilvy proved he's not ready to give up on the Tour Championship just yet, joining Scott with a 68.
He faces the tough task of needing a top four finish to progress but it's a position not foreign to the Victorian as he finished third in the corresponding event last year when a top three was needed.
John Senden is flirting with Tour Championship qualification after a two-under 70 to open his campaign left him tied for 41st but precariously positioned on the projection bubble for the trip to Atlanta in 29th.
Greg Chalmers (74) and Marc Leishman (75), who are chasing top six finishes to advance, will need a huge turnaround in the last three days.