Branden Grace started on the 10th at Chambers Bay Golf Club on Thursday and, despite making a bogey on his first hole, went on to card one-under-par 69 for a share of 14th after round one of the US Open.
The six-time European Tour winner shrugged off his early drop and made an eagle two at the 12th hole before adding birdies at the 14th and 18th to turn three-under-par for the day.
On his second nine it was tough for the 27-year-old to score and he surrendered bogeys at the third and seventh holes. He remained calm, however, and that proved to be the crucial part of surviving the links-style course.
By the end of the day Grace was four shots off the pace of leaders Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, who both carded five-under-par 65 and proved that distance off the tee will play a big role this week.
Skill around the greens will also come into play this week, and few players have softer hands than Patrick Reed, who shot a four-under-par 66 for sole third.
On the South African front it was Ernie Els and George Coetzee next on the leaderboard after each player carded two-over-par 72 to share 52nd place.
Charl Schwartzel managed a birdie at the final hole of his round to wrap up day one on three-over, while Garth Mulroy and Thomas Aiken made the clubhouse on four-over.