Bubba Watson showed how much he loves Riviera by opening with a 5-under 66 for a three-way share of the lead among the early starters in the Northern Trust Open.

A steady rain overnight stopped when the round began Thursday, though the course was slightly softer.

That didn't keep Watson from a bogey on the 10th hole to start his round — he called that a par for him. Watson, who won at Riviera two years ago, followed with seven birdies to join Chez Reavie and Luke List atop the leaderboard.

Rory McIlroy made his debut at Riviera with a birdie-birdie start and steady play to join the large group at 67 that included Illinois senior Charlie Danielson.

Jordan Spieth was among those playing in the afternoon under full sunshine.