Rory McIlroy made a solid start to his bid to complete the career grand slam on Thursday, as Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose occupied a familiar position at Augusta National.
McIlroy is looking to join Gene Sarazan, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in winning all four major titles by claiming a first green jacket on Sunday.
And the world number one kept the leaders in his sights thanks to an opening 71 which left him four shots behind Rose - who has led three times after the first round - and American Charley Hoffman.
Woods, playing just his third tournament of 2015 after shooting a career-worst 82 in the first and withdrawing after 11 holes of the second, was one over par after nine holes.
McIlroy hit a perfect opening drive of more than 320 yards and an excellent approach to 10 feet, but the 25-year-old missed out on a maiden birdie on the first at the 23rd attempt.
The four-time major winner then hooked his drive on the second into the trees and ended up in a narrow creek, but after taking a penalty drop was able to pitch out to the fairway and hit a superb approach to save par.
McIlroy bogeyed the sixth after his chip from short of the green rolled back down a slope to his feet, but responded with a superb approach to seven feet to birdie the seventh.
Another birdie chance went begging from 15 feet on the eighth - McIlroy played the par fives in level par last year compared to eight under by champion Bubba Watson - and the Northern Irishman had to scramble a par on the ninth after his approach span back off the green.
A bogey on the 11th after a poor chip dropped McIlroy over par, but he birdied the 13th and 15th to complete a satisfactory opening round.
“I just wanted to get going and once I got the first hole out of the way I felt I could relax,” McIlroy said. “It was not quite what I wanted off the second tee but made a great five which was important.
“I just kept telling myself to be patient out there. It was a tricky day, the wind was swirling and anything under par was a pretty good score. It was nice to pick up a couple of shots on the back nine on the par fives and I am pretty satisfied.
“It was a round that could have got away from me. I just stayed patient, realising it’s a 72-hole tournament and not having to press too much. It’s good to get into red numbers.
“I obviously know what I can achieve this week but I am not letting myself think about it too much. Today was pretty good and I feel I can do better.”