Matsuyama began his round on the 9th hole, and after opening with three pars he birdied three of the next four holes to take the turn in 33.
A bogey at the 1st halted his momentum slightly, but the Japan ace got that shot right back by birding the 2nd before registering another birdie at the 5th for a five-under round of 67.
Speaking after his round, Matsuyama said that he aimed to master the TPC Sawgrass course by keeping it simple.
"The key to this golf course, for me anyway, is to keep the tee shots in the fairway," he told the official PGA website through a translator. "Then score well on the back nine."
However, the world number 14 was unable to start his round in the fashion he would have liked.
"I didn't hit the ball too well, particularly the first three holes, I didn't hit the fairway once, but I was able to make pars," he said. "I got the round going with a birdie at the 13th and then puttered well on the way in."
Matsuyama was one of the days early starters, and in hot conditions the Florida course offered scoring opportunities, but still could not be taken lightly.
"The fairways and the greens were receptive, but the greens were still fast," Matsuyama explained.