The other member of their three ball, Bubba Watson, fared much better and would establish the clubhouse lead at seven-under par after a back-nine birdie streak.
Augusta's 10-shot rule means that both Garcia and Donald will be ousted from the tournament before the weekend, unless other poor rounds in the afternoon allow them to rise into the top 50.
Englishman Donald actually shot two-under-par, picking up a couple of strokes in the first three holes, only to see his progress halted by bogeys at the seventh and 10th, both of which are par-fours.
Birdies on the two par-fives after the turn took Donald to four-under-par, but a dropped shot at the 18th could prove very costly for the Ryder Cup stalwart as he eventually carded 70.
Garcia three putted to bogey the first hole, and then did the same at the par-three sixth after decent his iron into the green rolled back down the slope to show the fine margins at Augusta.
He picked up a shot on the next hole, but was back to four-over for the tournament by the start of the back nine, and he saw a second birdie cancelled out by consecutive bogeys to end his round.