LIV Golf returned Friday for its fourth event, LIV Golf Boston, and series newcomers Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann made an immediate impression.
The two are in a three-way tie for second place on a day that started hot for a lot of golfers before they tapered off. Smith had a pair of eagles on par-5 holes which helped him along. Niemann was consistent and steady throughout.
LIV Golf “veterans” Matthew Wolff and Talor Gooch are at the top of the leaderboard; Wolff leads at 7 under and Gooch is at 6 under. Wolff hit the shot of the day, an ace on the second hole, the first the breakout league has seen.
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LIV Golf Bedminster winner Henrik Stenson was a late scratch. He was replaced by 18-year-old Shergo Al Kurdi. Despite minimal preparation, Al Kurdi was able to shoot even par. That’s more than can be said for Phil Mickelson, who shot 3 over, placing him 44th in the 48-golfer field.
The Sporting News provided live scoring updates and highlights from LIV Boston. See how Round 1 unfolded at The International in Bolton, Mass., just outside Boston.
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See the complete LIV Golf Boston leaderboard here.
(All teams Eastern)
6 p.m. — Another nice shot from Johnson from the short grass ends his day at 67, 3 under par. He bounced back nicely from that double bogey, his only real blight on the day.
5:58 p.m. — Cameron Smith caps his day with his second eagle, thanks to an incredible putt. He, too, will finish one stroke off the lead, assuming Gooch’s score holds.
5:56 p.m. — Niemann also inches closer to the lead with another birdie, putting him one stroke off the leaders.
5:54 p.m. — Wolff manages to save par to finish at 63 for his round, 7 under. It looks as if he’ll have at least a share of the lead after Day 1.
5:48 p.m. — As Louis Oosthuizen climbs the leaderboard, 4 under has become the magic number once again. It feels like in that range golfers are really squabbling for the lead right now.
5:47 p.m. — Kevin Na is back in the top 10 with another birdie to get to 4 under, joining Lahiri and Casey.
5:41 p.m. — Hudson Swafford gave himself a scare on the Par 3. Wasn’t sure if he’d made it over onto the green. Gooch, meanwhile, pulls back into a tie for the lead with a birdie after laying up just short on an eagle putt.
5:36 p.m. — Wolff takes a hit on his penultimate hole of the day, missing a putt for par. Even so, he should still hold onto the lead after this hole.
5:27 p.m. — It’s hard to keep Johnson down for long. After going even he is back to 2 under with a couple of birdies. Smith also saves par after a bit of a circus hole. Wolff still leads with Gooch at No. 2 and Niemann at No. 3.
5:21 p.m. — After a lot of conversation, the official lets Smith get some relief instead. No crazy trick shots here, just difficult ones.
5:19 p.m. — Cameron Smith is currently haggling with a rules official about shooting left-handed pressed up against a tree. The official asked if he’s comfortable with it. He said yes.
5:18 p.m. — Wolff continues the streak he’s put together, sinking yet another birdie putt to go eight under. This is arguably the hottest we’ve seen a player today since Gooch opened the day with three birdies.
5:16 p.m. — Earlier, Charles Howell III sank this crazy shot from the bunker to get to 3 under. Just a wild shot.
From the bunker! ????#LIVGolf #LIVGolfBoston pic.twitter.com/qr1QjFsZsQ
5:05 p.m. — Wolff hits an eagle to take the lead and finally unseat Gooch. Still a lot of shakeups in that 3 under and 4 under range.
5:00 p.m. — With that being said, Wolff has a legitimate chance to take the lead on his next putt. At the very least, he looks like he can tie. Pat Perez is also heating up with an eagle putt on No. 8, which has — as predicted — been a friendly hole.
4:58 p.m. — As a general observation, after a hot start from the field things have cooled off considerably as the day has worn on. Despite a lot of shuffling right under the leader, no one seems to be able to make a real run just yet.
4:55 p.m. — Reed, for his part, gets back under par with an aggressive birdie putt. Johnson is now even after a double bogey. “Thank god for that. I mean, that it’s over,” from David Feherty after the putt fell.
4:53 p.m. — Smith’s misstep does, in fact, come back to haunt him as he’ll have to likely settle for bogey once again. Wolff should be in sole second place after this hole.
4:46 p.m. — Gooch’s consistency is still serving him well. Despite that misstep, another Wolff bogey has Gooch back on top for the time being.
4:40 p.m. — Smith’s shot is creating some technical difficulties, as he requests a cameraman on a crane move out of the way of his shot.
4:36 p.m. — Smith’s drives have been less than pristine so far, as he once against misses left. He can still save this hole, but he’ll once again have to work for it.
4:34 p.m. — Spoke too soon! Gooch hits a bogey to move to 6 under, tied with Wolff at first.
4:32 p.m. — Matthew Wolff is now at 6 under, one back of the lead. Here’s his big moment so far today.
MATTHEW WOLFF HOLE IN ONE
FIRST IN LIV GOLF HISTORY ⬇️ ????️ #LIVGolf #LIVGolfBoston pic.twitter.com/pxukPFdYxH
4:29 p.m. — Ortiz is still driving forward, as he has worked his way to 2 under. Kevin Na is also back to 3 under. But Gooch still has the score to beat at 7 under.
4:18 p.m. — From a team perspective, 4 Aces is still proving to be the team to beat. With Johnson and Gooch playing as well as they are, other teams have a lot of work to do to catch up.
4:12 p.m. — DeChambeau comes up extremely short on a putt for par, bizarre shot there. Gooch, meanwhile, is still at his two-stroke lead after missing a putt for birdie.
4:03 p.m. — As the field squabbles, Gooch has been consistent. He hits another birdie to move to 7 under, still in the lead.
3:59 p.m. — DeChambeau is quietly moving up the leaderboard, as he sinks a putt for birdie to get to 4 under and move into a tie for third. Smith also hits a putt for birdie to tie Niemann and Wolff, who also moved up.
3:57 p.m. – Graeme McDowell has moved into a tie for third as Talor Gooch hits a nice shot out of the bunker that will give him a shot for birdie.
3:52 p.m. — Smith has another nice drive onto the green, and he’ll have a chance to tie with Niemann in second on leaderboard again on his second shot.
3:45 p.m. — Mickelson continues to claw his way back to par with another solid Par 5. Cameron Smith, meanwhile, looks like he’ll have to settle for par once again.
3:41 p.m. — Joaquin Nieman sinks a birdie putt to move up to solo second, one stroke off the lead.
3:35 p.m. — With the front nine wrapped, Talor Gooch sits atop the leaderboard at 6 under with newcomer Cameron Smith in the mix tied for second. Dustin Johnson, as always, is also in the chase.
3:32 p.m. — As Johnson misses birdie, Smith falls just short of par, putting him back into a tie for second.
3:30 p.m. — Dustin Johnson does not seem to be a fan of the “louder” part of LIV Golf. As he lines up for birdie he keeps glancing in the direction of the music.
3:26 p.m. — Smith at 5 under is going to have a long putt to try to save par.
3:22 p.m. — Niemann stays one off the lead after pushing a putt right of the cup. Gooch’s putt for birdie falls and gives him the lead again.
3:20 p.m. — Carlos Ortiz continues to flirt with par, as he hovers between even and 1 under. Phil Mickelson is toward the bottom of the field, tied at 44 at 3 under. Matt Jones also ekes in a long putt.
3:16 p.m. — Coming off that shot Smith hits his worst drive of the day by far, missing far to the right. He has some work to do.
3:13 p.m. — Johnson also capitalizes on the hole to hit a birdie and move up to 4 under, tied for second. Patrick Reed is making a push as well.
3:11 p.m. — Smith sinks the putt to tie Gooch atop the leaderboard at 5 under, as he continues his impressive debut. Strong work from the proverbial rook.
3:10 p.m. — Matthew Wolff has been streaking since his ace, and has climbed up to a tie for second. Cameron Smith is also putting for eagle on No. 8.
2:57 p.m. — Charles Howell III moves up with a birdie with Matthew Wolff continues to prowl. Smith could be making a move on the eighth here.
2:53 p.m. — Gooch widens his margin by a hair, albeit in disappointing fashion with a birdie that could’ve been an eagle. Johnson also misses a disappointing shot on a birdie attempt, as Niemann takes sole possession of second place at 4 under.
2:50 p.m. — Joaquin Niemann’s eagle putt had a chance until the end, just missing left. He’ll still have a chance for birdie.
2:44 p.m. — A lot of shuffling and reshuffling at the top of the leaderboard here in the first nine, but no one seems to be able to catch up to Gooch up top. Johnson and Smith are both very much in play.
2:26 p.m. — Mickelson comes up just a little short on an attempted birdie putt, but more pressingly, Matthew Wolff hits the first ace in LIV. Says “it’s not the last” right after.
2:19 p.m. — Big shakeup up top on that hole, as players continue to roll. Gooch sneaks up to 4 under to take the lead.
2:17 p.m. — Smith is really making an impact early, as he looks like he could be tied for first after this hole. Terrific shot that was inches away from an eagle on his second of a Par 4.
2:12 p.m. — Cameron Smith is now a stroke off the lead as he starts to heat up, while many other golfers are hanging around par for the time being. Mickelson also converts a birdie.
2:06 p.m. — Already at 1 over, Phil Mickelson hits a terrific approach on Par 3 to put himself in birdie position.
2:04 p.m. — Great shot from Stenson’s replacement Al Kurdi to hit birdie and get back to par. Maybe that will calm his nerves a bit early on here.
1:59 p.m. — McDowell continues to impress with another birdie to take the sole lead, as Martin Kaymer and Khongwatmai get to 2 under.
1:56 p.m. — Smith hits a birdie to get under par and join the fray.
1:54 p.m. — Amongst early impressions, a lot of shots are just sticking on the greens as they’re hit. Some soft grass in Boston early.
1:53 p.m. — Graeme McDowell ties for an early lead with another birdie, as ht sits atop the leaderboard with Gooch. Plenty of field members are hot on their tails.
1:48 p.m. — Tons of players already under par here, as some players look to break the seal. Abraham Ancer, Cameron Smith, and Pat Perez are all hanging at even for the time being.
1:40 p.m. — 4 Aces, as usual, is off on the right foot as Talor Gooch gets started at 2 under and Johnson is at 1 under. Smith also misses birdie with a push to the right.
1:34 p.m. — Smith sets himself for a shot at at birdie on the Par 3 second hole with a nice approach, but it’s by no means a gimme. Same goes for Dustin Johnson.
1:30 p.m. — The eighth hole is looking like a friendly one, as Phachara Khongwatmai has a good chance at birdie and Chase Koepka was inches away from one. We’ll see if that holds up.
1:26 p.m. — Cameron Smith looks like he’s off to a solid start, as he sticks his third shot on a Par 4 close to the hole. He could be a disruptor in his debut LIV Golf tournament.
1:15 p.m. — And we are underway in Boston, as 4 Aces looks to defend its back-to-back titles. LIV Golf Bedminster winner Henrik Stenson will be out due to medical reasons.
Due to medical reasons, the @MajesticksGC Henrik Stenson will be replaced by Shergo Al Kurdi for this weekend’s LIV Golf Invitational Boston @SHERGOKURDI @henrikstenson #LIVGolf
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Viewers in the U.K. can watch it on DAZN and Sky Sports.
LIV Golf uses a shotgun start for its events. Players begin at the same time across the course on different holes and move in order from there.
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Play will begin at 1:15 p.m. ET each day.
Shergo Al Kurdi
Harold Varner III