Published Friday, 30 November 2012
Graeme McDowell in action in California. (© Getty)
The Portrush man carded four birdies and just one dropped shot on the back nine in his opening round at Sherwood Country Club.
McDowell's three-under-par round of 69 leaves him just two shots off the pace set by early leader Nick Watney of the USA.
"I finished second here in 2009 and then won in 2010, so it's been a nice place to come and play golf," McDowell told the PGA Tour website.
"It just fits my eye - I think it's a golf course where, if you can keep it in the fairway off the tee, it offers you a lot of great birdie opportunities and the greens are always fantastic here."
And asked how it felt to be playing as an engaged man, after his proposal to girlfriend Kristin Stape in Dubai a few weeks ago, McDowell smiled.
"It's a lot of fun - I'm sure she's watching on TV back in Orlando, so ... hi," he laughed.
"It's about that time in my life, you know? I can't be a boy forever, I gotta be a man at some point - so here we go, we'll give it a go."
© UTV News