Jason Day matched world No.1 Rory McIlroy and Marc Leishman continued his resurgence after his wife's serious illness in the Players Championship opening round.
The Australian pair posted three-under-par 69s at TPC Sawgrass to be two shots off the lead shared by Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, Canadian David Hearn and Americans Charley Hoffman and Kevin Na.
Tied second were Americans Billy Horschel, Derek Fathauer, Troy Merritt, Brendon Todd, Charles Howell III and Ben Martin.
Day, McIlroy and Leishman were in a logjam of 14 players on 69.
Playing alongside McIlroy and world No.2 Jordan Spieth, Day showed he would not be a third wheel, bouncing back from a double-bogey on the 18th, his ninth hole, to finish square with the Northern Irishman and well in front of Spieth's disappointing 75.
World No.7 Day was humming along nicely through eight holes when his tee shot on the 18th found the water left.
His next tee shot flew way right, forcing a punch back towards the fairway that ended in the rough and he could only muster an approach to 8m.
Facing a triple-bogey, Day calmly buried the long putt for his six and then erased the dropped shots with birdies on the first and second holes.
A bogey on the fourth threatened to pull him back but a birdie-birdie finish ensured he heads to round two in the mix.
"To finish the way I did was good, because it turned an average round into a great round," Day said.
With Audrey Leishman making her first public appearance since almost losing her life last month to toxic shock syndrome, her husband Marc bounced back from an opening-hole bogey and another at the 10th with five birdies.
"It was a solid round, (I) hit a lot of good shots, had a pretty good string of fairways that I hit there after the second, and that's helpful around here," Leishman said.
"Gave myself a lot of good birdie opportunities and was able to snag a few of them."
Robert Allenby was the next best Australian with a tidy 70 leaving him just three back, while Adam Scott was left to rue a final hole double-bogey to finish at even-par 72.
Geoff Ogilvy also got around in 72, John Senden opened with a 73, Matt Jones shot 75, Steven Bowditch carded 77 and Aaron Baddeley struggled to a 78.
Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods double-bogeyed the final hole to card a 73.