Because his luggage got lost, Snedeker also used a driver lent to him by Australian rival John Senden.
Starting out with only 10 clubs in a replacement bag, Snedeker managed to beat Danish Ryder Cup veteran Thomas Bjorn 5 and 4.
“So, a kind of weird day to say the least,” said Snedeker, a former Vanderbilt golfer.
Ian Poulter, of England, started his title defense by beating Senden 3 and 2, enhancing his status as one of the favorites this week. Justin Rose battered Robert Rock 7 and 6 in an all-English contest. Martin Kaymer, at No 9 the highest-ranked player in the field, lost 3 and 2 to Rafael Cabrero-Bello.
After Snedeker’s transatlantic flight from Miami to Madrid landed in the Azores on Monday night, his clubs and suitcase never made it on the connecting flight.
He played Wednesday’s pro-am deprived of sleep and with some loaner clubs, and only discovered on Thursday morning that his own set wouldn’t arrive until after he had teed off against Bjorn.
By the time his clubs arrived at the Finca Cortesin course from Malaga Airport, Snedeker was 3-up after three holes.
Playing well with his pro shop putter and Senden’s back-up driver, he stayed with them despite having his clubs.
“It actually worked out well – I think it’s my driver now and no longer his,” Snedeker said.
Snedeker had to be granted permission from tour officials to add four of his own clubs – a 3-wood, hybrid, lob wedge and putter – on the fourth tee.
However, he continued to use the putter he’d bought an hour earlier.
LPGA TOUR: In Gladstone N.J., defending champion Suzann Pettersen didn’t last long at the Sybase Match Play Championship, and neither did three well-known Americans.
The third-ranked Pettersen was eliminated
3 and 1 by relative unknown Jodi Ewart in the first round of the LPGA Tour event, while Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie also lost.
Yani Tseng, Na Yeon Choi and Cristie Kerr, the world’s Nos. 1, 2 and 5 players, barely advanced to the second round.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Greer, S.C., Darron Stiles shot 8-under-par 64 to take a one-stroke lead in the Nationwide Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Stiles has a one-shot edge over D.J. Brigman and Jim Herman. Brigman and Herman also played at The Carolina Country Club.
Augusta’s Scott Parel shot 68 and Aiken native Matt Hendrix had 74.