McDowell pushed his opening tee shot out of bounds, then put his provisional on a similar line. The latter ball remained in play, and McDowell scrambled to save double bogey.
“I thought I was going to make about a 12 off the first, shake the lads’ hands on the second tee and say, ‘See you later,’” McDowell said.
He got things back on track, though, stringing together five straight birdies on Nos. 4-8 with a 75-minute rain delay sandwiched in between. He made seven birdies in total during a 4-under 67 at El Camaleon, and now sits just two shots off the early pace despite his rocky start.
“Golf’s a funny game. Sometimes some of your best rounds start off with a bogey or a double,” he said. “Obviously it was a round that could have got away from me very, very quickly in the beginning, but pretty happy with 4 under now.”
McDowell is making his season debut this week in Mexico, and hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the PGA Championship. He credited his turnaround to a strong performance on the greens after taking just 25 putts to complete his round.
“I haven’t been putting my best lately and just been working on a few bits and pieces on the greens, and I really putted well today,” McDowell said. “Putted decisively, picked my lines well and managed to make a few.”