Tiger Woods, who underwent surgery twice during his 15 months out, is nine shots off the pace set by an American JB Holmes.
The 14-time major champion, possessed four birdies in eight holes but he bogeyed the ninth after a wayward drive and poor chip.
Another shot by him went on the 11th, while double bogeys on the 16th and 18th left the 40-year old American a stroke over par.
He said he “felt pretty good” and “looking forward to the few days to come” after finishing his round at the event he hosts to benefit his charitable foundation.
“I hit the ball in three bushes and the water, so it could have been something really good,” he told Sky Sports.