Brandt Snedeker was one of five players who shot 3-under in the opening round of the British Open on Thursday.
That group, which included former Open champion Tom Lehman, finished tied for fourth, two shots behind leader Zach Johnson. Two others, including another former Open champion, Mark O’Meara, were one shot behind Johnson.
Snedeker’s only missteps at Muirfield in Scotland (par 71, 7,192 yards) were a double bogey on the par-4 sixth followed by a bogey on the par-3 seventh, which dropped him to 1-over par. He made six birdies and 10 pars on the other 16 holes, including three birdies in a stretch of five holes on the back nine.
Last year he finished the tournament at 3-under, tied for third. He missed the cut in his three previous appearances.
"This game demands resilience," Johnson, who had one bogey in addition to an eagle and four birdies, said. "That just comes with experience."
Johnson was the first-round leader a year ago but shot a 74 in the second round and finished ninth. He didn't arrive at Muirfield until Monday morning after a bogey cost him a shot at last week’s John Deere Classic.
At 3-under with Snedeker were Miguel Angel Jimenez, Dustin Johnson and Shiv Kapur. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among those who finished 2-under.
"It was tough," Woods, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, said. "The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played. I'm very pleased to shoot anything even par or better."
Snedeker has one win on tour this season and five for his career and is eighth in the current World Golf Rankings
He finished in the top 10 three times in his last eight tournaments capped by a tie for eighth at his last outing, the AT&T National at the end of June. He also missed two cuts during that stretch.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.