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Marc Leishman fires 65 for 1-shot lead in LIV Golf in Arizona

Marc Leishman fires 65 for 1-shot lead in LIV Golf in Arizona

MARANA (AZ) — Marc Leishman shot a series long birdie and a few par putts to take a one-shot lead Friday at the LIV Golf League in Arizona’s high desert.

The Gallery north Tucson is the venue for the second LIV Golf tournament of the season. This is the same location where the Match Play Championship was once held.

Stroke play was difficult because of the undulated greens, pins tucked onto crowns, and difficulty in finding birdies in certain spots. Leishman didn’t find this a problem. The Australian made a 20-foot run on the 14th and a similar run on the 16th. Leishman then rolled in a 40 foot putt on No. 3.

He also made a 12-footer to par on No. 4. He led by one shot with only one bogey, beating Louis Oosthuizen, Matthew Wolff, and Abraham Ancer.

Charles Howell III, the man who opened LIV’s second year with a win at Mayakoba just three weeks ago, had one if the best turnarounds. After opening with a double bogey, he was three over after four holes. But he answered with four straight birdies. He finished with a final score of 69.

Howell stated, “I hung in there nicely.” “You’re high up, the pins can be found on slope edges so it’s hard for you to get the ball closer. Birdies are not easy.

Howell was among eight players who have played The Gallery during the World Golf Championship events of 2007 and 2008. Henrik Stenson won the 2007 event, but lost in the semifinals to Tiger Woods in 2008.

Stenson wasn’t so lucky with his stroke play. After seven holes, he was 4 over and had to rally with four birdies for a 73.

Dustin Johnson got off to a slow start, hitting a tee shot in the desert for double bogey on No. 2, his starting hole in shotgun start, with another double bogey. 7. He finished the round with three straight birdies at short range for a score of 73.

Joaquin Niemann and Peter Uihlein, who signed with LIV Golf from Arizona State, were each at 67. Sergio Garcia, Pat Perez and Pat Perez were among the 68-member group.

Niemann, Puig and Iron Heads each play for Torque. Torque held a one shot lead in the team competition against Smash and Iron Heads.

Cameron Smith, No. Cameron Smith, at No. 5, is the highest-ranked player in the world with LIV Golf. He struggled with his tee shots on the high desert. He recovered with three straight birdies in the final round and then hit another wild drive on 18th for bogey, and a 71.

Thirty-eight out of 48 players broke par. This included Phil Mickelson (70), and Laurie Canter (770), who once again filled in for Martin Kaymer while he recovers from an injury.