Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson tied up at the top
Round one is in the books in Bedminster, with Patrick Reed and Henrik Stinson leading the way after a 7-under-64. They are two off-field shots.
“I must be very happy with my focus, he’s been pretty busy the past 10 days,” said Stenson, referring to a week in which the European Ryder Cup captain lost in the wake of coming to LIV Golf.
Reed penetrated the fourth hole of the day, then poured eight sparrows over the remaining 14 holes to reach 7 under.
“Not only was I hitting the ball really well, I was putting it in the right spots,” Reed said. “I felt like I was able to practice violence in this place.”
Thanks to Reed and Dustin Johnson, who hit 4 under, the 4 Aces are up 11 under in their quest to win the two teams in a row. The Majesticks, with new team member Stenson and Ian Poulter (3 under), are 10 under and one in the back. Four then returned to Iron Heads, whose first player was Phachara Khongwatmai in 5-under. He’s in third place solo overall.
Patrick Reed gets 6 under
After this chip to the 15th level, Patrick Reed tried to get 6 less than the individual record.
Henrik Stenson is second alone at five, then three under-4 players: Dustin Johnson, Carlos Ortiz and Phachara Khongwatmai.
Stinson Reed, Part Two?
Henrik Stenson flew the 11th hole (14 of the day, remember the start of the gun) to match Patrick Reed at the top at 5 below level.
If the round ends like this, the two will be paired up on Saturday for the second round in a match with some history.
Stenson faced Reed in the 2014 Ryder Cup singles, in a spirited match that saw seven changes up front before Reed 1 won. Along the way, Reed put his finger in his mouth to silence the partisan crowds in Scotland. The United States lost the competition, but Reed made an unforgettable impression as a rookie winning by 3.5 points, the most on the American side.
Carlos Ortiz is in pursuit again
Mexican Carlos Ortiz finished second on his LIV Golf debut last month in Portland and is under-4 and has five holes to play in his first round, one shot short of Patrick Reed’s pace.
Ortiz won $2,125,000 in second place, more than double what he made all year on the PGA Tour in 20 events before leaving for the LIV.
Patrick Reed is in a hot streak
Having finished T3 in Portland with better rounds as the event continues – 72-68-67 – Patrick Reed stays hot in Bedminster.
Reed is 5 under and takes the lead on the par-71 course, having developed 10th for his sixth jumper in seven holes. His only ghost came early in his 3rd run.
His team of 4 Aces is tied to Majesticks at 6 Under.
It’s good to be fresh on Friday
Three of the newest players in LIV Golf are on the front page of the leaderboard.
Henrik Stenson and Charles Howell third in the group leading in 3-under, while Jason Kokrac in 2-under. Paul Casey, another newcomer, is over.
Stenson’s fellow Majesticks, Lee Westwood, is 2 under, so this team is leading early. The two lowest scores are counted for teams in the first round.
Bubba Watson officially introduced
LIV Golf made it official on Friday, declaring two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson as its newest player. As Circle did with some of the other signers, such as Paul Casey and Patrick Reed, it brought in Watson during the broadcast to chat.
Watson last played in the PGA Championship in May, where he finished T30. He has since undergone what he says is “meniscus-preserving surgery” on his right knee and he hopes to start swinging again in mid-October.
He will appear at the upcoming LIV event in September in Boston as an off-court captain, playing in 2023.
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One of the latest LIV Golf is the flagship
Henrik Stenson has had a big week. It started with being stripped of his European Ryder Cup captaincy in the wake of signing with LIV Golf, then came to Bedminster to start his LIV Golf career with a press conference.
On Thursday, Stenson reiterated his disappointment about the captain’s loss, saying he thought he could keep it while playing with LIV Golf.
“I have made every possible arrangement here to be able to fulfill the duties of a captain, and I have received great assistance here from LIV to be able to do so,” he said. “However, the decision was made to remove me.”
In the course, the story is more positive. Early on Friday, the Swede had a 3-under to take the lead.
Bryson DeShampoo see improvement
The first half of 2022 was completely lost for Bryson Deschamps, as hip and hand injuries limited his starts. When he tried to play painfully, things did not go well, as in the Masters where he missed the cut.
But three months after surgery on the affected hand, his game appears to be back. DeChambeau finished tied for 10th in the Portland LIV Golf event (his first LIV start), then tied for 8th at the British Open.
He’s under 1 early in Bedminster after hitting a long bat to a birdie.
Pat Perez is off to a fast start
The last time Pat Perez played at LIV, he was hitting the Final 80 in Portland.
On Friday, he opened with the sparrows in his first two holes to take the early lead.
Perez, 46, hit a 69 in his first round in Portland, which counted for his team 4 aces. The third round 80 didn’t, but teammates Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Taylor Gotsch played well and the 4A won the tag team competition and shared $3 million.
David Ferti appears for the first time in the booth
LIV Golf went live on Friday from Bedminster with a re-equipped broadcast booth.
David Ferti, new to the ring after leaving NBC Sports after the British Open, is in the booth alongside play-by-play man Arlo White and analyst Jerry Foltz. Dom Pollet, who is in the booth for the first two events, has been moved to a role on the course.
Verti will be relied on to provide humor for the broadcast. When Phil Mickelson showed up at the start of his tour, Ferti nicknamed him a “Gorilla Whisperer,” a reference to Mickelson’s showing at a nature reserve during a video welcoming Fertie to LIV.
Notable teams this week
With a number of new players joining LIV Golf this week, some four-player teams are new. Some are not.
The team champions in the first two events remain the same. Stinger GC, winner of the inaugural event in London, is South African quartet Louis Oosthuizen (captain), Charles Schwarzl, Hennie du Plessis and Branden Grace. The American quartet of 4 Aces GC, Portland winners, remained unchanged with Dustin Johnson (captain), Patrick Reed, Taylor Gooch and Pat Perez.
Majesticks GC was an all-English team with Lee Westwood (captain), Ian Poulter, Laurie Kanter and Sam Horsfield, but newcomer Henrik Stenson of Sweden replaced Kanter. The Clix team now has Canter, along with Martin Kaymer (team captain), Graeme McDowell and amateurs David Puig.
Charles Howell III, who said he was recruited into the LIV by Bryson DeChambeau, is on the Crushers’ team named DeChambeau with another newcomer in Paul Casey, as well as Shaun Norris.
Another new LIV player this week, Jason Kokrac, is on Smash GC with brothers Koepka and Richard Bland.
In the team format, the two best scores in rounds 1 and 2 are combined with three points from round 3 to get the team’s total score. The top three teams are paid out of the team’s $5 million purse.
Hole and group assignments for the first round
Here are the groups for the first round. Everyone races at 1:15 p.m. ET at the start of Venice. After the first round, players will be paired according to the score for the remaining two rounds.
- hole 1: Branden Grace, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia
- hole 2: Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Charles Schwartzell
- hole 3: Jason Kokrac, Ian Poulter, Taylor Gotsch
- hole 4: Graeme McDowell, Charles Howell III, Sodom Kayukangana
- hole 5: Jenichiro Kuzuma, Peter Oehlen, Scott Vincent
- hole 7: David Puig (A), Jedea Morgan, Hideto Tanihara
- hole 8: Henny de Plessis, Eugenio Lopez Chacara, Bernd Weisberger
- hole 9: Travis Smith, James Peut, Richard Bland
- hole 10: Ryosuke Kinoshita, Laurie Kanter, Chase Kupka
- Hole 11: Ormsby Valley Phachara Khongwatmai, Turk Pettit, Ian Sneman, Blake Windard, Branden Grace
- hole 12: Hudson Swafford, Yuki Inamori, Sean Norris
- hole 13: Matt Jones, Justin Harding, Sam Horsfield
- hole 15: Matthew Wolff, Pat Perez, Kevin Na
- hole 16: Louis Oosthuizen, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stinson
- hole 17: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Carlos Ortiz
- hole 18: Abraham Unser, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed