Rory McIlroy found a pool with a tee shot on his way to a 6-5 loss to Ian Poulter in his first group game at WGC Matchplay in Texas.
The capricious driving of the quadruple major winner on Austin’s fifth hole was one of many mistakes during his loss.
The Northern Irishman, who now has the coach Pete Cowen in his team, also found water on 13 with a chip on the green as Poulter sealed the victory.
The 31-year-old will face American Lanto Griffin in his next group game.
His last fight will be against Australia’s Cameron Smith, who finished second at the Masters last year.
Austin’s 64 players are split into 16 groups of four, with only the group winners advancing to the weekend’s round of 16.
Other notable matches of the first day included the match between Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Wallace, as well as Lee Westwood against his Ryder Cup teammate and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia.