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.
“I see started initially solid but then I made some mistakes. I did not play the par fives absolutely well, I played few awkward shots, if you drive great you can take advantage of this golf course, but if it’s the other way round, you can end up in bushes or rocks and go sideways.”
Tiger’s first double bogey came after he pulled his approach to the green exactly from the centre of the 16th fairway and was forced to chip out short of the green.
He applied just too much energy to his fourth hit and two putted from the back edge for a six.
He then pulled his drive on the par-four 18th into a lake and although he hit the pin with his fourth shot, he two-putted from 12 feet for the fourth six of his round as he had briefly tied for the lead at four under after a run of three birdies from the sixth hole while he played the first nine holes in three-under-par 33.