Published Thursday, 26 April 2012
Graeme McDowell hits his tee shot on the 16th hole. (© Getty)
Starting on the back nine in New Orleans, McDowell did not have a par until his 10th hole as he carded eight birdies and five bogeys.
He finished the round in a tie for 12th place on 69 strokes, four shots behind front runners Ken Duke and Cameron Tringale at seven under.
Title holder and Masters champion, Bubba Watson, started his defence six off the clubhouse lead when he carded a one-under-par 71.
The 33-year-old American had four birdies and three bogeys as he returned to action following his play-off triumph in Augusta earlier this month.
Duke racked up seven birdies while Tringale had eight, including four in a row from the 15th hole, and one bogey.
Sweden's Daniel Chopra and another American, Steve Stricker, were one shot behind after going round in 66, while American pair Ben Curtis and John Rollins were in the clubhouse on five under.