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Camilo Villegas (63) leads Northern Trust Open; Spieth shoots 79

LOS ANGELES — Jordan Spieth was everywhere he wasn't supposed to be at Riviera and wound up with 79 in the first round of the Northern Trust Open.

Spieth called his 8-over round a day to forget. It was his worst score since an 80 in the 2014 Tour Championship.

For Camilo Villegas, it was a day to savor. The former Gator ran off four straight birdies late in his round and challenged the course record until a bogey on his final hole for 8-under 63. He had the clubhouse lead led by three shots over Bubba Watson, Chez Reavie and Luke List when play was called for the day because of darkness.

Spieth ended his round with a three-putt from 8 feet for a double bogey. And there was a chance his score would get worse. Spieth asked rules officials to look at video of his third shot on the ninth hole to make sure the ball didn't move.

Spieth shot his third-worst score to par on the PGA Tour. He had eight missed putts inside 10 feet, one off his career high.

Rory McIlroy, in his American debut for 2016 and his first time at Riviera, opened with 67, along with Illinois senior Charlie Danielson.

Two years after he won the Northern Trust Open with a 64-64 weekend, Watson got off to a solid start with seven birdies.

"I just want to let everyone know that I love the golf course and I love the community," Watson said, grinning. That was a reference to the abuse he took two weeks ago at the Phoenix Open when he said he didn't like the changes made to the course and was booed heavily on the tournament's famously rowdy 16th hole.

Rain arrived Wednesday afternoon and was steady through the night, stopping right about the time the tournament began. It still was enough to allow the greens to hold a little bit more than usual.

Riviera's strength in recent years has been firm, fast conditions. Balls that took big bounces on the poa annua greens were at least holding and spinning back.

"I hit the ball pretty well from tee to green," McIlroy said. "Put myself out of position a couple of times, but with the way the conditions of the golf course were, it didn't punish you as bad as if it would have been as firm as it was the last couple of days."

LPGA: SooBin Kim shot a course-record 9-under 63 to leave defending champion and top-ranked Lydia Ko seven strokes behind at the Women's Australian Open in Adelaide. Kim's bogey-free opening round came after starting on the 10th hole of the Grange's West course. She had a three-stroke lead over Casey Grice and Caroline Masson. Five-time champion Karrie Webb was in a group with 67s.

Ko, who won last year's title at Royal Melbourne, bogeyed two holes on her first nine after starting on the 10th, but she had three birdies on the back nine for her 70. "I'll take it," Ko said. "Overall I played pretty solid."

Kim, 22, moved to Canada from South Korea with her family when she was 10 and played college golf at Washington. "I was just picking my line and rolling them in, let the ball do the rest," she said. "I was pretty ready for it, so (I am) not surprised." Ranked 256th in the world, Kim is playing her first tournament this year because her low ranking failed to gain her direct entry into the first two LPGA events.

Camilo Villegas (63) leads Northern Trust Open; Spieth shoots 79 02/18/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:21pm]
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