Brandt Snedeker returns, struggles to 76

March, 21, 2013

ORLANDO -- After a five-week break, Brandt Snedeker returned to competition and shot a 4-over-par 76 on Thursday in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Snedeker admitted he was a bit apprehensive at the start after dealing with a rib injury, especially given the cool morning conditions. He made two birdies but was really hurt by a triple-bogey at the 17th.

"I'm actually very encouraged despite shooting 4-over," he said. "But my iron game was just terrible."

Snedeker will try to go low to make the 36-hole cut on Friday. He is scheduled to play the Shell Houston Open next week.

Ryo Ishikawa opened the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 69, an important start to the tournament considering his rookie season on the PGA Tour has been pretty much a disaster.

The Japanese star -- who has received an invitation to the Masters for the third time -- has made just two cuts in seven starts this year, and one was in Puerto Rico, an opposite field event. He has fallen to 99th in the world.

Ishikawa, 21, has 10 titles on the Japan Golf Tour, including one late last year. He earned his tour card this year after taking up special temporary status in 2012.

Last year, Ishikawa faced considerable consternation when he received the Masters invite while Ernie Els did not get one. He has played in four Masters and made just one cut.

Geoff Ogilvy's 70 was necessary in a crucial week for the 2006 U.S. Open champion.

Ranked 50th in the world, he can fall no lower as of March 31 if he wants a Masters invitation. A strong tournament at Bay Hill would all but lock up a spot, especially with a strong field, meaning more ranking points.

Ogilvy, who narrowly missed the top 50 at the end of the year which would have earned him that Masters invite, jumped back inside the top 50 with a second-place finish three weeks ago at the Honda Classic. He will enter the second round in a tie for 13th, 5 strokes back of leader Justin Rose.