Ian Poulter crushed former US Open champion Jim Furyk 3&1 as the WGC-Match Play event in California finally got underway on Thursday.
Furyk was four under par when he lost, and Poulter said: "He'd have beaten 70% of the field but I played fantastic."
Rain delayed the tournament by 24 hours and turned the saturated 467-yard par four ninth into a 162-yard par three.
Graeme McDowell caused an early upset by beating Darren Clarke 1-up with a 10-foot birdie at the 18th.
McDowell came from two down with five to play to knock out 2000 winner and Northern Ireland compatriot Clarke.
Clarke commented: "I played poorly and got what I deserved."
Clarke was followed out of the tournament by fifth seed Mike Weir, who also lost on the 18th - to American Kirk Triplett.
But Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson all advanced.
Woods, winner the last two years, overcame Nick Price 4&3, world number one Singh had the same margin of success over Shingo Katayama, while Mickelson beat compatriot Loren Roberts 3&1.
But the state of the course continued to be a source of discussion among the players.
Woods called for the schedule to be looked at.
"I don't think it's fair for the sponsor, I don't think it's fair for the fans," he said.
"When it's wet like this it hurts everybody, and it would be fairer for all if we played under dry conditions."
Lee Westwood, a 4&3 winner over Steve Flesch, reckoned the course would have been declared unplayable had it been a stroke play event.
He described the rough as "like a salad bar", while Luke Donald, who beat Zach Johnson 4&3, said the wet greens were "like pizzas".
Tee times for Friday's second round at La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, California
(All times GMT, seedings in brackets):
1510 (8) Stewart Cink (USA) v (40) Tom Lehman (USA)
1520 (9) Davis Love (USA) v (24) Lee Westwood (Gbr)
1530 (7) Padraig Harrington (Ire) v (39) Rory Sabbatini (Rsa)
1540 (10) Stuart Appleby (Aus) v v (42) Ian Poulter (Gbr)
1550 (1) Vijay Singh (Fij) v (33) Jay Haas (USA)
1600 (16) Chris DiMarco (USA) v (48) John Daly (USA)
1610 (2) Tiger Woods (USA) v (31) Nick O'Hern (Aus)
1620 (15) Kenny Perry (USA) v (18) Luke Donald (Gbr)
1510 (60) Kirk Triplett (USA) v (37) Craig Parry (Aus)
1520 (53) Graeme McDowell (Gbr) v (44) Robert Allenby (Aus)
1530 (6) Sergio Garcia (Spa) v (38) Jerry Kelly (USA)
1540 (11) Adam Scott (Aus) v (43) David Howell (Gbr)
1550 (4) Retief Goosen (Rsa) v (36) Fred Couples (USA)
1600 (13) Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) v (20) Chad Campbell (USA)
1610 (3) Phil Mickelson (USA) v (30) Angel Cabrera (Arg)
1620 (14) David Toms (USA) v (46) Mark Hensby (Aus)