Kuchar shoots 64 to lead Riviera; Tiger wastes strong start

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Matt Kuchar hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Tiger Woods began with an unknowing tribute to Kobe Bryant by making an eagle putt that optical cameras measured at 24 feet, 8 inches. He ended his opening round with a reminder that getting around Riviera unscathed is no small task.

That's what made Matt Kuchar's day all the more remarkable.

Kuchar drove to the edge of the 10th green and two-putted for birdie and kept right on rolling until he had a 7-under 64 on Thursday, matching his best score at Riviera and giving him a three-shot lead in the Genesis Invitational.

So clean was Kuchar's round that he only once had to stress over a par putt, and he made the 10-footer at the par-3 fourth.

"I think it's one of the few courses that has truly stood the test of time," Kuchar said. "It was a great test of golf 50 years ago when Ben Hogan was playing, it's a great test today with Tiger Woods and all the young boys playing."

The conditions were ideal once the morning chill gave way to mild sunshine, and Kuchar took advantage in the morning. As much as Kuchar loves the course, he has only one top 10 in his 13 previous appearances.

Woods was 4 under through eight holes and had to settle for a 69.

His record at Riviera is under far greater scrutiny, especially this week as he tries for his 83rd PGA Tour victory to set the career mark he now shares with Sam Snead. Woods has not won in 10 appearances as a pro, two others as a teenage amateur.