ADAM Scott has made a handy start in his switch to a short putter, sitting inside the top 10 after the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Playing his first tournament in over two-and-a-half months, Scott fired a two-under-par 70 to be tied eighth - still eight shots behind of runaway leader JB Holmes - while fellow Australian Jason Day had a shocker, putting four balls in the water.
Former world No.1 Scott was using a short putter for the first time in four years as he prepares for golf's end of year deadline to abandon the anchored putting stroke he used so successfully on his broomstick blade in recent years, including his 2013 Masters triumph.
American Holmes was on fire in blustery conditions on the Blue Monster course at Trump Doral resort, carding eight birdies and an eagle to be 10-under.
Fellow American Ryan Moore was second alone at six-under while Frenchman Alexander Levy and Americans Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson shared third at four-under.
Scott warmed into his round with seven straight pars, never seeing a birdie chance inside 20 feet with his new short putter and claw grip.
But he rolled in a 13-footer for birdie on the par-five eighth and backed it up with a seven-foot birdie on the ninth.
Two further birdies on 11 and 12 had the former No.1 inside the top three before a loose bunker shot cost him a bogey on the 13th.
An unlucky bounce into water on the 14th resulted in a double bogey but the Queenslander birdied the 17th to finish strong.
Playing with Scott, world No.4 Day had a round to forget as his four shots into water left him with a 76 and tied 59th in the 74-man field.
John Senden was the next-best Australian behind Scott at one over 73, Geoff Ogilvy shot 74, Steven Jeffress 75 and Greg Chalmers 77.
World No.1 Rory McIlroy battled back from a four-over front nine to shoot 73 and sit tied 27th.
Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.