Patrick Reed sank five straight birdies for a nine-under-par 63 on Thursday to lead after the first round of the PGA Tour event in California, with Australian Stuart Appleby well placed three shots off the pace.
"The course is in perfect shape," said Reed who equalled his career-best round. "The rough isn't very high, the fairways are perfect and the greens are rolling very true. That's the main thing to being successful out here is with how great the conditions are, that if you're hitting putts on line, they're going to go in, no matter what."
Ryan Palmer, Justin Hicks, Daniel Summerhays and Charley Hoffman shot opening-round 64s.
Appleby fired a 66, one better than fellow Australian Aaron Baddeley (67) and Greg Chalmers (68). Compatriots John Senden, Steven Bowditch and Scott Gardiner carded 71s, while Geoff Ogilvy returned a disappointing two-over 74.
Reed started on the back nine on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course and birdied 16, 17 and 18 and then the first and second holes, before adding birdies on the sixth and seventh.
"I started out a little struggling with the driver, had some lefts in it but, luckily, I missed it in the right spots. I was really confident with my irons, kept hitting greens and, all of a sudden, 10, 12, 15, 20-foot putts started going in."
Palmer birdied his final six holes and nine of his last 12 on the Palmer course, the site of the final round on Sunday.
"I wasn't making a whole lot of long putts, just hitting it close," Moore said.
Hicks had an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course.
"Just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I can," Hicks said.
Summerhays birdied seven of his last 10 on the Nicklaus course. Hoffman, the 2007 winner, had an eagle and six birdies at La Quinta Country Club.
Kapalua winner Zach Johnson shot a 65 at La Quinta.
Keegan Bradley opened with a 69 at La Quinta in his first start of the year. He's fighting a cold and struggled with his distance control and accuracy.
"I'm still a little tired. Getting better every day," said Bradley, paired with Johnson over the first three days. "I'm happy with today's round for the first round of the year."
Defending champion Brian Gay also had a 69 at La Quinta.