Kuchar shot a seven-under par to take the top of the leader board, followed by Garcia at six-under and Brandt Jobe two shots behind. Friday at the Riviera Country Club will be key for Kuchar, who had earlier leads in past tournaments but had trouble holding on. Garcia will also be looking for his first win of the year after getting off to a hot start.
Kuchar will be sitting around for a while, as his tee time doesn't come until around 3:00 PM ET with KJ Choi and John Huh. The 34-year-old golfer took home the 2012 Players Championship for his first win in two years and this tournament would be a huge victory for him. He has finished in the top 10 twice in three events and should take his string play into the weekend.
Kuchar made three straight birdies on puts to start the round on Thursday and eventually finished with seven all together, giving him a 64 in the round. Garcia was making his PGA Tour debut after two tournaments in the Middle East and looked string, making two birdies on the final three holes despite dealing with some fog.
Phil Mickelson is coming off of two strong tournaments, but he shot a 71 leaving him far, but not too far behind the leaders. Mickelson will tee off around 3:00 Pm as well, along with Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas on the first tee.
Mickelson did not make a single birdie in the round, something he hasn't done since 2010, but he feels that one more round should get him closer to the top.
"A mini-victory," he said of his round at even par according to the Associated Press.
The golfers are all vying for a $6.6 million pay purse with the winner bringing back a check for $1.2 million as well as 500 FedEx Cup points. The TV schedule for Friday includes overage on the Golf Channel starting at 3 PM, just in time for Mickelson to tee off as well as Kuchar.
Some of the top groups playing include Bubba Watson, Fred Couples and Lee Westwood, as well as Luke Donald, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell, who is playing in his first PGA event of the year.
Here's the top part of the leaderboard:
1) Matt Kuchar, -7
2) Sergio Garcia, -6
T3) Brandt Jobe, -5
T3) Charlie Beljan, -5
T5) David Lynn, -4
T5) James Hahn, -4
T7) 11 players at -3