Villegas leads at Riviera as Spieth shoots 79


Camilo Villegas holds a three-stroke lead after the opening round of the Northern Trust Open was suspended on Thursday.

Villegas was almost faultless as he carded an eight-under-par 63 at Riviera Country Club, where world number one Jordan Spieth struggled dramatically.

Colombian Villegas had reeled off four-consecutive birdies - five in total previously - heading to his 18th hole, where he had to settle for a bogey.

Chez Reavie, 2014 champion Bubba Watson and Luke List are adrift in second position at the PGA Tour event in Pacific Palisades, California.

As for Spieth, the American is 16 shots adrift of Villegas and 12 behind rival Rory McIlroy, who is tied for fifth at four under.

Heading into the day, Spieth - who tied for fourth last year - was one of the favourites, while McIlroy was making his competitive debut on the course.

But Spieth double-bogeyed the 18th to shoot an opening eight-over-par 79, his worst first round as a professional.

Spieth finished the day with eight bogeys, a double-bogey and just two birdies.

"There were a couple of rounds last week where I shot two under and was more miserable than I am now," Spieth said on Golf Channel. "It was just a bad day.

"It's weird because I feel really confident about where my game is. I had a good range session. I just didn't hit good shots."

McIlroy enjoyed a much better day on the green, holing five birdies and dropping just one shot to be level alongside Ricky Barnes, Charles Howell III, Charlie Danielson, Shawn Stefani, Justin Leonard, Ben Crane and Tyrone Van Aswegen - who was through 16 when darkness led to the suspension.

A stroke further back are the likes of Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson and Luke Donald.

Meanwhile, defending champion James Hahn is even par heading into the second round.