Kuchar claims clubhouse lead
Last updated: 15th February 2013
Matt Kuchar carded a round of 64 to take the clubhouse lead when darkness halted play with 18 players yet to complete their first round of the Northern Trust Open on Thursday.
The American carded seven birdies in his bogey-free round and entered the turn at four under par and then made three more birdies on the back nine to end one stroke behind Sergio Garcia.
The Spaniard also struck seven birdies in his round on the 71-par Riviera Country Club, but had a lone bogey on the par-four 13th, which cost in a share of the lead as he finished the first round on six-under.
"I got off to a great start," the four-time winner on the US PGA Tour commented after his round.
"Birdied my first three and all were kick-in birdies - I think all within probably four feet."
In third place, one stroke behind Garcia on five-under is Brandt Jobe, who set the early lead with his round of 66.
Charlie Beljan was at five-under after the 17th when play was called off, but decided to play the 18th nonetheless. It was a decision he will rue in hindsight after he bogeyed his last hole to end on 67 alongside Korean-American rookie James Hahn and England's David Lynn.
In a group of 11 players one stroke further behind on four-under is South Korean Sang-moon Bae, England's Lee Westwood and US veteran Fred Couples.
It's always interesting to see guys figure their schedule out," Kuchar added.
"I had three really nice weeks, almost three top-10s, then went to Hawaii for about eight days, had a blast. I came back refreshed and energized and ready to get back playing again."
Garcia was also delighted to finish his round before darkness set in on the California course.
"First tournament in the US this year, it was nice to start like that with three nice birdies. I managed to play quite good - not extremely well.
"I was more comfortable with my irons than my driver," Garcia said.
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