LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Matt Kuchar jumped out to a three-stroke lead on the first day of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. His bogey-free opening round put him at seven-under par and in the driver’s seat in a competitive field.
Kuchar has had a middling year so far, with his best finish a tie for 14th (T14) at the Sentry Tournament of Champions back in early January. He has enjoyed some success at Riviera, however, with at T8 back in 2016. His first-round 64 ties his best at Riviera. The last time he shot a 64 here was the first round of the 2013 Northern Trust Open, which he followed up with three rounds in the 70s en route to an even-par finish that was well out of contention.
Kuchar will need to keep up his mistake-free ways to hold a lead through the weekend. Some of the world’s best golfers, in maybe the best non-major field we’re likely to see this season, remain within striking distance. Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau ended Thursday four strokes back, while Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm all trailed by five strokes.
Woods generated even more excitement than usual right out of the gate Thursday, hitting an eagle on the easy opening par-5 and finding two more birdies on the front nine. He would give back two strokes on the back nine to finish out the day at 69. His Friday round didn’t go quite as well. Three bogeys on the way out and a double-bogey on the par-four 15th hole leave him at even par for the tournament so far. He should make the cut, but he’ll need to hit more greens to have any chance at finding his 83rd career win and his first Riviera win.
Meanwhile, Kuchar lost ground awaiting his 12:13 PT start. Sung Kang and Adam Scott turned in a 67 and 64 respectively to land at six-under going into the weekend. Jon Rahm’s 68 leaves him at four-under. Harold Varner III ended his round at seven-under to also grab a share of the lead at the time. Many of the other top players are still early in their rounds at the time of this article.
Kuchar, the first-round leader, bogeyed the first hole to open his second round but found a stroke two holes later. Four holes in he remains at seven-under and trails Russell Henley, who is three holes ahead of him on the course and one stroke ahead on the scorecard.
The Genesis Invitational is setting up for an exciting weekend.