Adam Scott’s advice to John Senden has helped both men sit in the mix at the US PGA tour playoff event in New Jersey.

Adam Scott advised John Senden to stop searching and just let his talent take over, advice he also took on himself to ensure both men sit reasonably poised after the opening round of the opening US PGA tour playoff event.

Senden and Steven Bowditch lead the Australian charge after the first round at the Barclays, shooting three-under rounds of 68 to be tied 13th just three shots off the lead.

And World No.2 Scott is just one shot further back after a 69 at Ridgewood Country Club leaving him within striking distance as he defends his Barclays title.

American Bo Van Pelt leveraged a late birdie and eagle into a six-under 65 to take the lead.

Eight players share second in a logjam at five under 66 including Americans Hunter Mahan, Cameron Tringale, Charles Howell III, Ben Martin, Brendon Todd and Jim Furyk plus Zimbabwe’s Brendon De Jonge and England’s Paul Casey.

Senden, who won back in March and was eighth the Masters before a couple of nice finishes in Texas has cooled.

In his last six starts since June he has missed three cuts and has a best finish of 26th but the Queenslander finished with a flourish on Thursday thanks to four consecutive birdies to close the round.

He then revealed Scott had advised him at the recent PGA Championship to relax more and stop trying to find something extra from when he was hot earlier in the year.

“Scotty said when you are playing well and then you have a little dip, don’t try to search for something you think is missing, just deal with it, because it is all still in there,” Senden told AAP.

“You have to make a conscious decision to just enjoy a round or be happy with yourself and just play and then it comes back it is amazing how it works.

“I have been trying to quieten the brain, just to play golf rather than trying too hard to make things happen, and today was a bit of a turnaround.”

It is precisely the same attitude Scott himself has employed this week after two tournaments of wayward ball striking.”

“Today I just didn’t care at all and didn’t think about my swing,” Scott said.

“I felt like I hit it well last week at home and thought I will just go and play and the result was today I hit them well.”

While they are already safe into the second playoff event next week it was a bit of a struggle for Jason Day (+1), Matt Jones (+1) and Marc Leishman (+4) in the opening round, leaving them with work to do to make the cut.

The four Australians under pressure to perform who at least need to make the weekend are already up against it.

Robert Allenby (+1), Geoff Ogilvy (+2), Stuart Appleby (+2) and Aaron Baddeley (+3) all shot over par and need improvement to keep their seasons alive.

World No.1 Rory McIlroy, gunning for a fourth consecutive win, failed to keep his hot streak alive with a three-over 74.