Sang-Moon Bae birdied his opening four holes Friday and kept right on going until he had the lead at the Northern Trust Open.

Bae wound up making birdies on half of his holes on a warm day at Riviera. He had a 6-under 65, and was one shot ahead of John Merrick (66) among the early starters. Bae and Merrick played in the same group.

Right behind them was Luke Donald, showing no sign of winter rust. Playing for the first time in two months, Donald has been superb was with his short game, including a delicate bunker shot in front of the 10th green for an easy birdie. He had a 66 and was two shots behind.

Sergio Garcia tumbled out of the lead late and had a 73.