Byrd survives wind for early lead at Riviera

DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The wind was blowing so hard when Jonathan Byrd woke up in his beachfront home that he worried about having to play Riviera. It worked out fine Thursday in the Northern Trust Open, where he shot a 3-under 68 to take the lead among early starters.

Byrd made five birdies in his round of 3-under 68. He was one shot ahead of Brendan Steele and K.J. Choi. Luke Donald, the No. 1 player in the world, opened with a 70. Among the 72 players who had early tee times, only seven broke par.

If no one from the afternoon catches Byrd, it will be the highest score to lead after the opening round at Riviera since 1984.

Pebble Beach winner Phil Mickelson was among the late starters.