February 13, 2020; Pacific Palisades, California, USA; Matt Kuchar hits from the fourth hole tee box during the first round of the The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) – Tiger Woods got off to a hot start but cooled off coming home in the opening round of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles on Thursday, carding a two-under-par 69 to sit five strokes behind leader Matt Kuchar.
Woods, seeking a record 83rd PGA Tour victory, rolled in a 25-foot eagle putt at the first hole but bogeyed the last at Riviera Country Club.
Woods is the host at the event, formerly known as the Los Angeles Open, and has played it 10 times without a victory, twice finishing runner-up.
It is just his second official start since matching Sam Snead’s record of 82 tour victories last October.
World number one Rory McIlroy carded a 68, one shot better than Brooks Koepka, who he has just replaced at the top of the rankings.
Kuchar wielded his putter with precision to open a three-shot lead over a group of five players.
A year ago at the same venue, the American arrived mired in controversy following criticism of his decision to pay a stand-in caddie just $5,000 from his winner’s take at a previous tournament.
The world number 20, who is seeking his 10th career PGA Tour victory, eventually agreed to pay David Ortiz $50,000.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford