Rory McIlroy opened his 2015-16 USPGA Tour campaign by shooting a four-under 68 to finish five strokes off the lead after the first round of the Frys.com Open.
Four time major winner McIlroy on Thursday hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation and if not for a couple of missed short birdie putts he would have been that much closer to leader Brendan Steele.
American Steele drained nine birdies en route to a nine-under 63 in perfect scoring conditions at the Silverado North course for a one-shot lead over Jhonattan Vegas.
Harold Varner and Scotland's Martin Laird are two shots back of the leader after shooting 65s.
South Korea's D.H. Lee and Justin Thomas both carded 66, while England's Justin Rose and Canada's Graham DeLaet highlight a group of six golfers on 67.