Singh, who hasn???t won on the PGA Tour since the 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship, picked up four birdies on the back nine for a five-under 66, his lowest opening round in over two years.
The 46-year-old Goosen, a two-time US Open champion, reeled off three late birdies to join Singh at five-under after suffering two sloppy bogeys early on the back nine.
“It was nice to see the two old boys play pretty good,” said Goosen. “It was nice to play with Vijay. He played very solid too, and he putted really good. We were sort of feeding off each other.”
Singh, who missed two chances late on to move into the outright lead, was happy with his performance, citing an injury-free back as the reason for his impressive opening round.
“I’m finally not hurting as much as I did the last five years,” said the big Fijian. “That’s a big part of playing good golf. You’re not hurting, you can go out and play and you’re comfortable. Right now, nothing hurts. The golf swing feels good, and I’m happy to be playing.”
Nick Watney, competing for the fifth straight week, kept up his form with an eagle on the opening hole on his way to a 66. Korean-born American James Hahn, Daniel Summerhays, Dereky Fathauer joined them in share of the first-round lead.
No-one managed better than 66, while three players failed to break 80. One of them was Scott Piercy, who became this year’s face of the par-4 10th hole. He began his round by going from the front bunker to the back bunker – then to the front bunker, and then back to the back bunker – before a great putt for double bogey.
Defending champion Bubba Watson ended his streak of 43 consecutive holes without a bogey at Riviera when he hit into the trees to the right of the fifth fairway. The two-time Masters champion opening with a round of 70 at the par-71 Riviera course.
Brandt Snedeker, who moved inside the world???s top 50 with victory at last week???s AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, was two-under early until he had four bogeys in a span of six holes on the back nine and stumbled to a 73.