Refreshed Kuchar takes lead at Riviera

Friday - 2/15/2013, 3:30am EST

DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Coming off a three-week break, Matt Kuchar might not remember golf feeling this easy.

He opened with three straight birdies, all of the putts inside 3 feet. He made back-to-back birdies late in his first round at Riviera. He made seven birdies, the longest putt from 8 feet, on his way to a 7-under 64 for a one-shot lead over Sergio Garcia on Thursday in the Northern Trust Open.

Garcia, making his PGA Tour debut after two tournaments in the Middle East, finished with two birdies over the last three holes even though he could barely see. Fog dropped in at Riviera over the final two hours after a day of warm sunshine, and Garcia could barely see the landing area in the fairway or the flags on the green.

No matter. He closed with an 8-iron to 6 feet on an elevated green at No. 9 for his seventh birdie.


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