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Sunday, December 4, 2022
21.7 C
Brunei
Sunday, December 4, 2022
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    Three tied for lead after 1st round of LIV Golf in Thailand

    BANGKOK, THAILAND (AP) – Richard Bland, Branden Grace and Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra upstaged their more-illustrious opponents yesterday to shoot 7-under 65s and share the lead after the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational-Bangkok.

    Marc Leishman and Ian Poulter were a stroke behind while Kim Sihwan, Brooks Koepka and Morgan Jediah were among those two behind in the 54-hole event.

    The tournament is being played on the new Stonehill Golf Club north of downtown Bangkok. The course was created by American designer Kyle Phillips and opened this year.

    Dustin Johnson, who leads the money list with just over USD12.5 million in five events, shot 70. British Open champion Cameron Smith, who won the last LIV event in Chicago in mid-September, shot 72.

    It’s the first time LIV Golf is being played outside the United States since its inaugural event in early June near London.

    Before the start of play, players learnt that they still won’t accrue ranking points on the LIV series. The Official World Golf Ranking said in a statement on Thursday that it had denied the MENA Tour’s request to immediately add the Saudi-funded series to its schedule.

    File photo shows LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago tournament winner Cameron Smith with Peter Uihlein and Dustin Johnson. PHOTO: AP

    The OWGR said the MENA Tour did not give it sufficient notice and there would not be time to finish the review ahead of the Bangkok tournament and next week’s event in Saudi Arabia.

    LIV Golf created an alliance with the little-known MENA Tour, which hasn’t run a tournament of its own since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MENA Tour stands for Middle East and North Africa and is a developmental tour that has been getting the bare minimum of world ranking points since 2016. It has 54-hole events with a 36-hole cut, offering a USD75,000 purse.

    “I don’t think it really was much of a response. I just hate when you sit on the fence. Just pick a side,” Koepka said yesterday. “If it’s yes or no, just pick one. So I’m not a big fan of that.”

    Bryson DeChambeau, who shot 69 yesterday, said the decision by the rankings group was only “delaying the inevitable”.

    “We’ve hit every mark in their criteria, so for us not to get points is kind of crazy with having the top – at least I believe we have the top players in the world,” DeChambeau said.

    “We certainly believe that there’s enough that are in the top 50, and we deserve to be getting world ranking points. When they keep holding it back, they’re going to just keep playing a waiting game.”

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