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Matt Kuchar, coming off 3-week break, has an easy time at Riviera

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    Matt Kuchar drives on the 11th tee during the first round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (The Associated Press)

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    Brandt Jobe chips to the 18th green during the first round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (The Associated Press)

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    Matt Kuchar waves after making a birdie on the 10th green during the first round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (The Associated Press)

  • af08ab7b72dc8405290f6a70670049e2.jpg

    Phil MIckelson drives on the fourth tee during the first round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (The Associated Press)

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    Fred Couples hits from the fifth tee during the first round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (The Associated Press)

Matt Kuchar finished just as strong as he started Thursday and made it look easy in the Northern Trust Open.

Kuchar opened with three straight birdies, all of them putts inside 3 feet, and finished with back-to-back birdies at Riviera for a 7-under 64 that gave him a two-shot lead among the early starters in the Northern Trust Open.

Brandt Jobe, returning from a serious neck injury last year, put his experience to use. Jobe played golf at UCLA and has lost track of the times he has played Riviera. He ran off four straight birdies late in his round before a bogey on the 18th forced him to settle for a 66.

Fred Couples, the 53-year-old who feels rejuvenated on this golf course, had a 68.