Tracker: Kuchar out in front at Northern Trust

Matt Kuchar drives on the 11th tee during the first round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.

Matt Kuchar drives on the 11th tee during the first round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.

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PosNameTodayThruScore
1Matt Kuchar-7F-11
2Luke Donald-2F-10
T3Ben Martin-4F-9
T3John Huh-3F-9
T5Scott Brown-4F-7
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In what has been an incredible start to the 2013 PGA Tour season - the likes of Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker have all won in the first six weeks - the stars will really get going this week at Riviera.

And after one round of play, the Northern Trust Open has been as good as advertised.

Matt Kuchar shot a 7-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Sergio Garcia. Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan are all under par, as well.

But not all the big names got off to a good start. Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley managed to come away with even-par 71s, but Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson all shot over par.

D. Johnson (5 over) and Watson (6 over) were particularly disappointing.

We kept you up-to-date all day at the NTO. See how it all unfolded:

• • •

Update No. 50, 8:09 p.m. EST

Steve Marino signed an incorrect scorecard after shooting 78, so he's out of the event with a disqualification. Stephen Ames is also out after withdrawing. He joins two others who've withdrawn, Sean O'Hair and Chris Stroud.

• • •

Update No. 49, 7:50 p.m. EST

Sergio Garcia birdie the par-4 ninth to wrap up a 6-under 65. He's in solo second, one shot back of leader Matt Kuchar. Garcia made just one bogey in his first Tour round of the season.

• • •

Update No. 48, 7:38 p.m. EST

Blayne Barber Monday qualified for this event and is making the most of it. The former Auburn standout is 2 under through 10 holes at Riviera CC, where he played in the NCAA Championship last spring.

• • •

Update No. 47, 7:22 p.m. EST

Luke Donald's round has included an eagle, five birdies and five bogeys. He's at 2 under with two holes (Nos. 17-18) remaining.

• • •

Update No. 46, 7:19 p.m. EST

Sergio Garcia just moved into a tie for second with Brandt Jobe at 5 under. Garcia birdied the par-4 seventh, his third birdie on the front nine. He has two holes left.

• • •

Update No. 45, 7:07 p.m. EST

Dustin Johnson entered 2013 with high expectations and those expectations were heightened after Johnson opened the year with a win at the Hyundai. But since then, Johnson has withdrawn from the Sony, finished T-51 at Farmers and missed the cut at Pebble Beach.

His struggles are continuing as Johnson is 3 over through 14 holes today. He was even at the turn, but bogeyed Nos. 10, 12 and 13.

• • •

Update No. 44, 7:02 p.m. EST

Charlie Beljan has been in a slump to start 2013. He was T-23 at the 30-man Hyundai before missing four straight cuts. Of his 13 rounds played this season, just three were in the 60s. But Beljan the Bomber, who won at Disney last fall, is 4 under through 11 holes today. He has three birdies in his last five holes, including two straight on Nos. 10 and 11.

• • •

Update No. 43, 6:49 p.m. EST

Hunter Mahan has finished T-26 or better – but no better than T-15 – in all four events he's played this season. He was T-16 last week at Pebble Beach thanks in large part to an opening-round 66. Mahan is 3 under through 13 holes Thursday at Riviera. He's got three birdies in his last four holes.

• • •

Update No. 42, 6:26 p.m. EST

It's been a good start to the season so far for Sergio Garcia. Garcia birdie his first three holes before bogeying No. 13 and making five straight pars to close the back nine. He now has two birdies (on Nos. 1 and 3) in his last three holes as he has climbed to 4 under.

• • •

Update No. 41, 6 p.m. EST

John Merrick has improved with each tournament so far this season. After two missed cuts at Humana and Farmers, Merrick was T-57 in Scottsdale and T-16 last week at Pebble Beach. He's 4 under through 12 holes today. Merrick has made four birdies in his last seven holes heading into the par-4 13th.

• • •

Update No. 40, 5:43 p.m. EST

The reachable par-4 10th was just kind to Luke Donald, but not-so-kind to Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott. Donald drove just left of the green, about pin high, before holing his chip for eagle. The shot moved the former World No. 1 from 1 over to 1 under.

Scott was just short of the green with his tee shot and then hit a nice chip to a few feet. But he missed the short birdie putt. McDowell ended up in the greenside bunker after his approach shot. He hit out of the sand to about 10 feet past and missed the par putt. Scott is even par while McDowell is 1 over through 10 holes.

• • •

Update No. 39, 5:28 p.m. EST

It's been a battle for Luke Donald since his birdie at No. 1. Donald, who bogeyed Nos. 4, 5 and 7, fell to 2 over before his latest birdie at No. 9. Donald drained a 12 footer to get a stroke back and move to 1 over.

• • •

Update No. 38, 5:21 p.m. EST

Ernie Els, like many playing this afternoon, is making his first PGA Tour start of 2013. He was T-59 here last year and got off to a mediocre start Thursday. Els birdied the easy par-5 first hole, but played his next five holes in 1 over. But Els has birdies at Nos. 7 and 8 to move to 2 under.

• • •

Update No. 37, 5:12 p.m. EST

You knew it would get tougher to score as the day went on at Riviera CC, especially on the greens. The numbers have supported that. No one currently on the course is better than 2 under. Matt Every, Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia are among those at 2 under.

• • •

Update No. 36, 4:59 p.m. EST

Luke Donald is now 2 over after a bogey at the par-4 seventh. Donald has been struggling on the greens and has made three bogeys in his last four holes.

• • •

Update No. 35, 4:46 p.m. EST

Sean O'Hair and Chris Stroud have withdrawn following their first rounds. O'Hair did not give a reason for his withdrawal, but he shot 12-over 83 Thursday. Stroud, who carded a 76, withdrew with a wrist injury.

• • •

Update No. 34, 4:39 p.m. EST

Dustin Johnson just missed a long par putt, bogeying the par-4 fifth hole to drop to even par. The marquee names playing this afternoon have yet to really get going. Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Webb Simpson are all at even while Adam Scott and Luke Donald are each 1 over.

• • •

Update No. 33, 4:01 p.m. EST

Make that three birdies in three holes for Sergio Garcia, who has birdied Nos. 10-12 and is 3 under.

• • •

Update No. 32, 3:48 p.m. EST

We're seeing Sergio Garcia for the first time on the PGA Tour this season. Garcia is 2 under through two holes thanks to birdies on Nos. 10 and 11.

• • •

Update No. 31, 3:38 p.m. EST

Adam Scott bogeys No. 2 to fall back to 1 under. Plenty if big names at 1 under, including Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Ernie Els and Luke Donald.

• • •

Update No. 30, 3:19 p.m. EST

Adam Scott has begun his day with an eagle at the par-5 first hole. Scott made a 15 footer or so to move to 2 under after just one hole. Scott's eagle was the seventh of the day at the hole. His playing competitor, Luke Donald, birdied the hole.

• • •

Update No. 29, 3:17 p.m. EST

Matt Kuchar after his round: "Fresh and ready go. . . . Feeling good about my game." He added, "I think everyone loves coming here." Kuchar is playing for the first time since Humana. He has finishes of T-9, T-5 and T-16 so far in 2013.

• • •

Update No. 28, 3:11 p.m. EST

Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald are playing together, and all are playing in their first Tour event of 2013. They are currently in the fairway at the par-5 first hole.

• • •

Update No. 27, 3:05 p.m. EST

Matt Kuchar missed a long birdie on No. 18 and he would settle for par to wrap up a 7-under 64. Also finished for the day is Phil Mickelson, who carded an even-par 71.

• • •

Update No. 26, 2:53 p.m. EST

The afternoon wave is starting, but those players will have some work to do to catch Matt Kuchar today. Kuchar just birdied the par-5 17th to move to 7 under with one hole to play.

• • •

Update No. 25, 2:38 p.m. EST

Matt Kuchar just birdied the par-3 16th to take the solo lead again at 6 under. Kuchar has six birdie and no bogeys with two holes left.

• • •

Update No. 24, 2:36 p.m. EST

Fred Couples is still within reach of the lead at 3 under with two holes left. Couples has 14 top 10s at Riviera, so he knows his way around the golf course.

• • •

Update No. 23, 2:28 p.m. EST

Brandt Jobe bogeyed No. 18, his first bogey of the round, to wrap up a 5-under 66. He's tied with Matt Kuchar for the lead, one shot ahead of Pat Perez, who is 4 under through 17 holes.

• • •

Update No. 22, 2:23 p.m. EST

It's been a rough day for Bubba Watson. Watson has four bogeys and no birdies through 15 holes today. He moves to the par-4 seventh at 4 over. The struggles are really the first of the season for Watson, who was T-4 at the Hyundai and 15th in Scottsdale.

• • •

Update No. 21, 2:20 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson, who won this tournament in 2008 and '09, and lost in a playoff last year, has turned things around on the front nine. After a 1-over 37 on the back, Lefty has made two birdies so far on the front to move to 1 under overall. Mickelson has two holes left, Nos. 8 and 9.

• • •

Update No. 20, 2:18 p.m. EST

Brandt Jobe is almost finished with his round and he's closing strong. Jobe has four straight birdies (nos. 14-17), and now has the outright lead at 6 under.

• • •

Update No. 19, 2:07 p.m. EST

Robert Streb is a PGA Tour rookie who Monday qualified this week. He's making the most of it so far. Streb is 3 under through nine holes, two shots back of co-leaders Matt Kuchar and Brandt Jobe, who are both 5 under.

• • •

Update No. 18, 1:41 p.m. EST

Bud Cauley is starting to develop a trend so far in 2013. Cauley missed the cut at Sony, then finished T-37 at Humana. A week after that he missed the cut at the Farmers before a T-24 showing at the Phoenix Open. So if that pattern repeats itself, Cauley would be looking at a third missed cut.

While it's still early at Riviera, Cauley is not off to a good start. He just made the turn at 4 over, bogeying No. 8 and making double at the par-4 ninth.

• • •

Update No. 17, 1:36 p.m. EST

Michael Block is playing in just his second PGA Tour event – he missed the cut at the 2007 U.S. Open. Block eagled the pa-5 first hole and is currently 3 under through seven holes. He's part of a four-way tie for second, two shots behind Matt Kuchar.

• • •

Update No. 16, 1:19 p.m. EST

It's been a good last few days for Fredrik Jacobson. Not only did he find out earlier this week he got into the WGC-Accenture Match Play after Brandt Snedeker withdrew, he's also playing well Thursday at Riviera. He's 2 under through 10 holes, three back of leader Matt Kuchar, who is at 5 under.

• • •

Update No. 15, 1:03 p.m. EST

James Hahn's great start to his rookie season is continuing. Hahn is 2 under through three holes. The former Cal player has made all five cuts so far in 2013, including two top 5s at Humana and Pebble Beach.

• • •

Update No. 14, 1 p.m. EST

Matt Kuchar and Bill Haas have both just started their second nine holes with birdies. Kuchar moves to 5 under while Haas goes to 4 under.

• • •

Update No. 13, 12:50 p.m. EST

Fred Couples made four PGA Tour starts last season, making three of four cuts. The one cut he did miss? The Northern Trust Open. Couples is playing in his first Tour event of 2013 and after a bogey at No. 11, he's made three birdies on the back nine to move into a tie for third at 2 under through nine holes.

• • •

Update No. 12, 12:38 p.m. EST

Bill Haas had just made the turn at 3 under after starting on No. 10. He's one shot back of Matt Kuchar, who is also through nine holes. Haas, who has made three birdies and no bogeys, is playing well as of late. After a slow start that included a T-23 showing at the Hyundai and a missed cut at Humana, Haas was T-9 at Farmers and T-6 in Scottsdale.

• • •

Update No. 11, 12:15 p.m. EST

Will Claxton finished No. 113 on the money list in 2012 to hold on to his PGA Tour card. He was 10th in green in regulation percentage and 23rd in total driving. he also missed just seven cuts in 28 events with seven top 25s. All in all, it was a good year.

But so far, 2013 hasn't been nearly as kind for Claxton. He's missed three of four cuts and the cut he did make, he finished T-73 at Farmers. Claxton is 5 over through nine holes at Riviera, which puts him in 72nd place (last) of the players who have teed off.

• • •

Update No. 10, 12:07 p.m. EST

Matt Kuchar birdied his first three holes to jump out to an early lead. He has since added to that after a birdie at the par-4 seventh. Kuchar now is two shots clear of the field. Kuchar has made the cut at this event every since 2008, when he notched his best finish of T-14.

• • •

Update No. 9, 12:04 p.m. EST

Brandt Jobe has only made one start on Tour this season. That was at the Farmers, where Jobe shot 74-74 and missed the cut. His second start of 2013 has gone a little better so far. Jobe makes the turn at 2 under, one shot off the lead.

• • •

Update No. 8, 11:55 a.m. EST

Keegan Bradley has had some mixed results so far in 2013. He was T-4 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but missed the cut after shooting 70-77 at Farmers. His other two tournaments, Sony and Phoenix, results in finishes of T-49 and T-24, respectively.

Bradley is off to a rough start at Riviera. He's 3 over through seven holes thanks to a double bogey at No. 13 and a bogey at No. 14.

• • •

Update No. 7, 11:39 a.m. EST

Lee Westwood's quest to play more on the PGA Tour began last week. Westwood opened with a 68 at Pebble Beach, but cooled off with 70-73-72 to finish T-46. He's playing again this week and is 2 under through four holes after birdies at Nos. 12 and 13.

• • •

Update No. 6, 11:22 a.m. EST

Humana winner Brian Gay and one of the guys he beat in the playoff, Charles Howell III, are both in last place right now at 3 over. Also struggling is Phil Mickelson. Lefty birdied No. 10 but bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12, and is 1 over along with Fred Couples and Vijay Singh.

• • •

Update No. 5, 11:20 a.m. EST

Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi have each birdied Nos. 1-3 and have taken the lead at 3 under. Choi has had a decent start to 2013. He did miss the cut at Sony, but was T-9 at Farmers and finished T-36 at the Phoenix Open.

• • •

Update No. 4, 10:55 a.m. EST

Jim Furyk made his first Tour start of 2013 last week at Pebble Beach, finishing T-30 and closing 69-68-69 after an opening-round 75. He's continuing the solid play at Riviera. Furyk has birdied Nos. 1 and 2 to grab a share of the early lead at 2 under.

Also at 2 under are Matt Kuchar, K.J. Choi, John Rollins and Graham DeLaet.

• • •

Update No. 3, 10:43 a.m. EST

There have already been big names winning tournaments so far this season – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker – and the big names are starting strong today. Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar are all 1 under early in their rounds. Ryan Moore and K.J. Choi are also 1 under.

• • •

Update No. 2, 10:22 a.m. EST

Charles Howell III has no doubt had great start to the season. He's third on the Tour in scoring average (69.11) and sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. He has three top 10s in four starts, including the Humana Challenge, where he lost in a playoff. Howell didn't play last week at Pebble Beach after finishing T-36 in Scottsdale.

But while his start to 2013 has been a good one, he's not playing well so far in Riviera. Howell is 2 over through two holes, bogeying Nos. 10 and 11.

• • •

Update No. 1, 10:07 a.m. EST

We've just gotten underway at Riviera. Among the early leaders at 1 under are Andres Romero, Dicky Pride, Pat Perez, John Rollins, Brandt Jobe, David Mathis and Jason Kokrak. Most of that group birdied the par-5 first hole at Riviera.

Kokrak has missed two straight cuts entering this event. He withdrew from the Farmers, too, after finishing T-8 the week before at the Humana. Rollins, on the other hand, has made all four cuts this season and has finished in the top 25 three times.

• • •

Pre-tournament coverage

TEE TIMES: A look at the first-round tee times at the Northern Trust Open. Pairings.

STARS COME OUT: Three of the past four major winners, plus the season debuts of Luke Donald, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell put a spotlight on the Northern Trust Open. 5 Things.

WHICH LEFTY WILL SHOW UP? Phil Mickelson has had a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence the last two weeks. He nearly shot a 59 at Phoenix, cruising to a four-shot victory. Then he went to Pebble, where he barely made the cut. Which Mickelson will show up this week? Story.

OUT FOR 2013: Spencer Levin says he probably won’t be playing golf again until next season. The silver lining? With the PGA Tour’s new year-round schedule configuration, the start to the 2014 season is only eight months away. Story.

PREDICTIONS: There will be plenty of familiar faces making their 2013 PGA Tour debut this week at the Northern Trust Open. Two of them also make the cut with our panel of experts - with Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel both registering as overall favorites. Tip Sheet.

CLEAR CONSCIENCE: Blayne Barber might not be one of the 25 marquee players teeing it up at Northern Trust Open, but after his self-disqualification at Q-School, he is simply ready to show off his game on golf's biggest stage. Commentary.

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