Pacific Palisades, CA – Unlike years past the weather for this Valentine weekend for the Genesis Invitational is clear blue skies all weekend. Matt Kuchar jumped out to (-7) under par to hold a three shot lead going into day two.
Kuchar had the morning tee time starting on the back nine playing the course backwards.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen this place. Weather was just perfect, hardly a breath of wind. Course is in great shape,” said Kuchar, “I happened to hit a perfect drive just on the fringe of the green and was able to two-putt for birdie. Birdied 11 and that was just a nice way to start the day.”
The pace for was set earlier with second half of the field had to try and make some birdies to catch him sitting in clubhouse safe for the day.
The crowds were nice for a Thursday with this now being an Invitational verse the Open which this tournament had been for years. Tiger Woods now sponsoring this tournament and field shrunk by about 20 players for the new format.
Tiger Woods teed off with a nice swell of views looking to brave the course following close by outside the ropes. On the first hole Tiger had a put the 24’8 foot put that he eagled to get off to a great start to what could be a great weekend.
“As I said, ironic that having those two numbers. And then No. 8, happened to hit one in there close and had a nice little kick-in there for birdie,” said Woods, “You know, no matter what we do, I think for a while we’re going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, and especially here in SoCal and the entire sports world.”
There were a few players who had golf shoes or outfits that showed tribute to the late Kobe. Justin Thomas had a custom pair with Kobe NBA logo on one side, then a dunking Kobe on the right shoe. The heels had Mamba Mentality 8 / 24 in Lakers colors.
Tiger’s round stay steady then finished on down note on back nine. Friday with a early tee time he will be right back at it.
“I’ve been getting up pretty early, so it will be a quick turnaround, get back at it,” said Woods, “Hopefully I can hit it as good as I did on that front nine to give myself a number of looks for the entire 18 holes, not just nine holes.”
Harold Varner III got off to a good start with (-3) under par finishing the first round tied for third.
There is still a lot of golf to played here before the weekend cut.