Sandy Lyle headed the European challenge after the first round of the Freeport McMoran Classic in New Orleans - the warm-up tournament for next week's US Masters at Augusta.
The former Masters champion shot his best round in the United States so far this year, a three-under-par 69 which put him five shots behind the leader, J L Lewis.
Ian Woosnam and David Feherty each scored 70, the Open runner-up, Jesper Parnevik of Sweden, had a 71 but last year's Masters victor, Jose-Maria Olazabal, could only manage an up-and-down 73 which contained two birdies and three bogeys.
Lewis, playing the final hole in darkness, missed a three-foot birdie putt which would have increased his lead over second-placed Brad Bryant to two shots. Neither Lewis nor Bryant - four of whose seven birdies came from iron shots put to within two feet of the pin - made a bogey.
It is the first time Lewis, 34, a qualifying school graduate who was a club professional until last July, has ever led a PGA Tour event.Reuse content