Marc Leishman said pre-US Open there was no point in him rushing out of the blocks.
But when slow and steady turned into an early stumble after starting on the 10th tee, the big Victorian knew he had to react.
“Yeah, (I) got off to a pretty ordinary start,” said Leishman, who had a couple of tough bounces near greens on the 10th and 12th to immediately fall well off the pace.
“I didn't do a whole lot wrong, but knew if I kept hitting good shots, they've got to come eventually.”
Leishman rolled in a slick 6m putt for birdie on the par-four 13th, then two-putted the 18th for a second birdie to return to square.
But it was a great tee shot to within 2m on the par-three fifth that got him tracking to his final two-under-par total of 69.
Birdies followed on the sixth and seventh, only hurting the rally with a bogey on his last, the tough ninth.
“The course was out there to be had and it was nice to fight back and shoot a couple under,” he said.
His 2018 World Cup teammate Cam Smith, of Queensland, closed his round with a birdie on the 18th hole to climb back to even par, well in the hunt.