England’s Ian Poulter said he was going “straight to the driving range” despite shooting a seven-under-par 64 to share the round one lead at the RBC Heritage.
Poulter hit several wayward drives but did not miss a putt from under 10 feet to lead with American Mark Hubbard at the PGA Tour’s second event back.
Seven players are six under, while Matt Fitzpatrick of England and American Jordan Spieth are at five under.
World number one Rory McIlroy conceded he had a “bit of a struggle” in his 72.
The Northern Irishman said there was not much change from last week at Colonial where he was in contention but faded on Sunday with a four-over 74 in the final round.
“I was missing tee shots. I didn’t get it in play enough to give myself looks at hitting it close into greens,” he said of Thursday’s round in South Carolina.
Poulter was also errant off the tee, but said his “solid iron play” and putting made the difference, adding: “Any time you shoot seven under around this course, it’s obviously a pretty good day.”
He picked up his first shot with a five-footer at the second, two-putted for birdie at the par-five fifth, drained a five-footer at the ninth and tapped in from under two feet at the 11th.
A nine-foot birdie at the 13th followed and he holed a 31-foot putt on the 17th before hitting a five-iron from 213 yards to set up a five-foot birdie at the last.
American quartet Brice Garnett, Webb Simpson, Michael Thompson and Ryan Palmer all shot six-under 64s to finish one shot back, along with Norway’s Viktor Hovland, Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz and Dylan Frittelli of South Africa.
Fitzpatrick posted a bogey-free round with five birdies in his 66, while Spieth had eight birdies in his round, six in succession from the second hole.
However, he had started on the 10th and had a triple-bogey on the 12th after hitting a tree and bouncing out of bounds.
The tournament is the second behind-closed-doors event being held by the PGA Tour in the United States.
All players, caddies and officials undergo coronavirus testing before play and so far none have tested positive across the two events.
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