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Matt Kuchar takes early lead at Northern Trust Open

February 14, 2013|By Chris Dufresne
  • Matt Kuchar birdied his first three holes on his way to an early lead at the Northern Trust Open.
Matt Kuchar birdied his first three holes on his way to an early lead at the… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Matt Kuchar shot a bogey-free morning round of seven-under 64 to seize the early lead at the Northern Trust Open.

Kuchar birdied his first three holes at Riviera on his way to a front-nine 31. He finished with seven birdies.

"I got off to a hot start today and was playing solid golf," he said.

Kuchar holds a two-shot lead over Brandt Jobe, who shot two-under 69.

Things didn't go as well for the morning marquee threesome of Phil Mickelson, Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley, who shot a collective one-under par. Haas, the defending champion, shot one-under 70 while Mickelson and Bradley both finished at par.

Last year, the trio was a total of 21-under par and ended up in a playoff won by Haas.

"Had to fight to make pars and pretty fortunate to shoot even par," Mickelson said after his round.

Mickelson's group is set to return Friday with a 12:01 p.m. tee time on the first hole.

Thursday was a good day for 53-year old Fred Couples, who shot three-under 68.

"I can figure my way around this course," said Couples, a two-time Northern Trust Open winner.

Couple's playing partner, Lee Westwood, also shot three-under. Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion and third man in the grouping, lagged well behind at six-over 77. He is currently tied for 119th in the 144-player field.

ALSO:

Veteran wants to put the 'Wi' in winner at Riviera

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The PGA Tour saga of rookie Blayne Barber continues at Riviera

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