PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Paul CaseyHe birdied his three last holes to score a 6-under 65, and share the lead Jason KokrakFriday saw the start of the second season, Saudi-funded LIV Golf, at Mayakoba.
Casey was 5 under through 10 hole before he lost ground due to a double bogey at the par-4 2nd hole. To close his round at El Camaleon, he responded with a hat-trick of birdies.
Kokrak was bogey-free and chipped in for one birdie, as well as holing a few long putts.
Mayakoba hosted a PGA Tour fall event from 2007 to November 2007, when the resort switched over to LIV Golf.
Dustin JohnsonHe won the points list and $18 million bonus last season while leading his 4Aces for the team title. However, he was slowed down by consecutive bogeys during his round. He was at 68.
Casey plays for Crushers. Their four scores are rounded up to 10-under par which gives them a three shot advantage over Johnsons squad. Brooks Koepka.
LIV caused a major disruption last year in golf by spending $2 billion in bonus money in an effort to attract big players. These players were suspended by the PGA Tour, which led to a lawsuit.
There were some other players during the four-month offseason, but the highest-ranked was Thomas PietersNo. 35 in the world. The Belgian claimed that he joined when a spot became available. Hudson SwaffordShe is undergoing hip surgery and will be out the rest of the season.
Pieters opened with a 76. None of the 17 newcomers broke Par. Danny LeeA 71.
Phil MickelsonHe had three straight birdies in the first round, but was forced to settle for a 72.
The 54-hole event will feature a shotgun start and will be broadcast on linear television Saturday as part of The CW Networks broadcast partnership.