SUGAR GROVE, Ill. — Dustin JohnsonAlready, the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series has surpassed $10 million and hes playing like that number will keep on rising.
Johnson ran off nine birdies Friday, none longer than about 12 feet, and posted a 9-under 63 at Rich Harvest Farms to build a three-shot lead after the first of three rounds in the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago.
Johnson is coming off a playoff victory two weeks ago outside Boston. With his team having won two events in the last two events, his earnings for four starts is already just over $9.9million. This is more than his 22-year-old best season on PGA Tour.
British Open champion Cameron SmithHe was able to regain his putting form towards the end of round and finished the round with a par-5 second-hole birdie for a 66.
Phil MickelsonJohnson was five shots behind him, with five birdies. Johnsons one mistake was huge. He made triple bogey at the par-3 fifth hole. This was his sixth shotgun start of the day. He shot 70.
Johnson finished the front nine with four straight birdies. Three of them were from 8 feet or less. Johnson held a clinic at Rich Harvest Farms, a facility located in the southwest suburbs that is most well-known for hosting the Solheim Cup 2009.
Johnson kept his groove despite having to take a week off and only playing six times in four months.
His only miss was on the 18th par-5, and that kept him from getting in two. He missed a 10-foot birdie putt.
Johnson said, I didn’t hole a lot putts beyond 10 feet. Johnson smiled and said, I didnt have many putts beyond 10 feet.
He said, I have my swing in a nice tune. As long I hit a few balls every other day, its possible to keep it up. Im doing my best to keep it going right now,
Smith only made two birdies on his first nine holes, but he changed his approach and saw more birdies go in.
I made an adjustment out here the last five to six holes. He stated that he was not hitting them in the back of each hole. A little speed adjustment, and a few started going in.
Johnson and Talor GoochHe birdied his first three holes, and was 1 over the rest for a 70. These are the only players who have finished in the top ten in all four LIV Golf Invitational tournaments.
On a sunny day in the suburbs, 27 of the 48-man players broke par. David PuigHe had a 73.
Patrick ReedThe 74 was despite three birdies, an eagle and three birdies.