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

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.