Matt Kuchar earned a three-stroke lead after the opening round of the Genesis Invitational on Thursday. Tiger Woods, meanwhile, started hot but faded.
Kuchar carded a 7-under-par 64 to set the early pace at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Kuchar, who was part of Tiger Woods’ triumphant Presidents’ Cup team in Melbourne in December, is without a solo victory since the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii more than a year ago.
But Kuchar made a strong start Thursday. The nine-time PGA Tour champion was bogey-free as he made seven birdies to top the leaderboard ahead of Lee Kyoung-hoon, Russell Henley, Wyndham Clark, Adam Schenk and Harold Varner III.
The event has attracted a star-studded field — it is one of only five tournaments given invitational status by the PGA Tour — and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy is in contention.
World No. 1 McIlroy recorded two eagles, a pair of bogeys and a birdie for a 3-under-par 68 on Day 1. McIlroy headlines a group of 10 players tied for seventh, including Jason Day and Patrick Reed.
Woods is a stroke farther back after a 2-under 69. The 15-time major winner faltered following a bright start in his pursuit of a maiden Genesis Invitational trophy.
The American superstar made an eagle on his first hole, opening a tournament with an eagle for just the second time since 2003. It was the fourth eagle of his career at Riviera.
Woods holed two birdies in addition to the eagle on a flawless front nine before fading after the turn. He bogeyed twice on the back nine, including on 18.
Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant — who died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Giannia, and seven other people last month — was honored around the course.
There was a flag in Lakers colors and Bryant’s No. 8. Brooks Koepka sported headcovers inspired by the five-time NBA champion.
Former world No. 1 Koepka, reigning champion J.B. Holmes and Justin Rose are among the players at 2 under, while 2018 winner Dustin Johnson, two-time champion Phil Mickelson, three-time victor Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth ended the day 1 over.