American Matt Kuchar has made an emphatic start to the 2020 Genesis Invitational by taking a three-stroke lead after round one at the Riviera Country Club, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Kuchar, who experienced a rather a difficult year on the Tour last year, will be hoping the good start can set him up for a better 2020.
The 41-year-old raced to 7 under par for the opening round with a well-played 64 that featured seven birdies and not a single bogey.
It has given him a solid lead ahead of Friday’s second round with a big group of players three shots behind in T2.
They are Kyoung-Hoon Lee, Russel Henley, Wyndham Clark, Adam Schenk and Harold Varner III, who all sit on 4 under par after Thursday’s round.
A stroke back though is Rory McIlroy, who returned to the No1 spot on the Official World Golf Rankings earlier this week, leapfrogging Brooks Koepka, who has only recently returned to action after a knee injury kept him out of the game for three months.
McIlroy made a brilliant start to his competition with an eagle on the par 5, first hole and followed that up with a birdie on the 5th.
The back nine proved a bit more challenging for the Northern Irishman and despite making another eagle on the 17th, two bogeys on the 12th and 18th halted his round somewhat.
He will start the second round in T7 alongside another big batch of players that features the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed.
Tiger Woods is a further stroke behind on 2 under par after his opening round 69, despite also flying out of the blocks on the first nine.
Erik van Rooyen is the highest placed South African after round one at the Genesis Invitational. His round of 71 was good enough to see him finish on even par and in T42, while Branden Grace carded a two over par 73.