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Rookie Hickok uses history to adjust quickly at Riviera

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LOS ANGELES – Learning new courses on the fly is part of life for PGA Tour rookies but this week at the Genesis Open Kramer Hickok does have a bit of history at Riviera Country Club.

Hickok was a freshman on the University of Texas golf team in 2012 when the NCAA Men’s Championship was played at Riviera. Although he didn’t play that week he was on property to celebrate the Longhorn’s victory

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“I remember Dylan Frittelli making a 30-footer to win the national championship and running to jump on him,” Hickok recalled on Friday after completing his rain-delayed opening round. 

Although Hickok said he only played two practice rounds at Riviera, his inexperience didn’t seem to be a problem for the 26-year-old who opened with a 5-under 66 and was tied for second place and two strokes behind Jordan Spieth.

It was actually a practice round on Tuesday with Spieth, who also played for Texas at the 2012 NCAA Championship, that proved to be beneficial for Hickok.

“Everyone thinks of [No.] 10 as a birdie hole because you can hit 3-wood at the front edge, and [Spieth is] like it's not, it plays 4.5 [stroke average],” said Hickok, who made par at the 10th hole in Round 1. “It plays just as hard as some par 5s do this year, and it's having that sort of mentality going into the hole, it makes it a lot easier.”