BEDMINSTER, NJ – Despite a bogey on the par-5 finishing hole, Henrik Stenson will enter Sunday’s final round of the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster holding a three-shot advantage.
The 46-year-old Swede finished his second day at Trump National with a score of 2-under 69, highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 8th hole to reach 9-under par.
“Like I said yesterday, I played really solid,” said Stenson. “Today I definitely didn’t have my best, but I was hanging in there.
“It was tougher conditions with the wind. It’s a tough golf course, and the greens are extremely quick and quite undulated. With the wind it’s even harder to put the ball in the perfect spots, and yeah, it was a bit of a grind at times, and then we kind of came through with some really good shots and made some nice putts.
“I didn’t have a good start dropping two. It was a good double in the end on the 3rd after hitting it in the bushes and fought my way back.
“Overall I’m pleased, and we’re at the races.”
Dustin Johnson also carded a 69 and will be paired with Stenson in Sunday’s lead grouping.
“Yeah, I mean, this golf course, it’s hard,” said Johnson. “Game plan doesn’t change. Just try to get it in the fairway and then if you can, somehow get an uphill putt.
“But it seems like I’ve been putting downhill all week. Even the uphill putts feel like they’re downhill. I don’t know. The greens are fast.
“But yeah, just try to — first and foremost, you’ve got to get it in the fairway just to be able to control the golf ball coming into these greens.”
Carlos Ortiz, who signed for a 70 to reach 5-under par, will round out Sunday’s lead game.
“Yeah, I mean, trying to catch him,” said Ortiz. “Make some birdies and hopefully he [Stenson] doesn’t make that many. That’s the game plan.”
Overnight co-leader Patrick Reed posted a 73 to remain within striking distance on 5 under, alongside Ortiz and Talor Gooch, who produced the day’s low round with a 64.
“I mean, the only place you’ll see that was on a LIV Golf event,” said Reed, when asked about the atmosphere on the first tee. “That thing was unreal.
“That’s the whole thing, ever since I’ve been out here, ever since Portland, it just seems to get better and better every single day, just little things here and there.
“Having President Trump on the box, having three parachuters, watching the American flag come down as well as having Greg Norman out there, it doesn’t get any better.”
Stenson’s Majesticks captain, Lee Westwood (69) was among a trio of players tied for sixth on 4 under, one clear of Martin Kaymer (71) and Charl Schwartzel (69).
4 Aces Extends Lead; Seeks Second Straight Team Win
Team 4 Aces GC used the scores of Gooch (-7) and Johnson (-2) to reach -20 and extend their team advantage to six shots over Majesticks GC (-14). Stenson (-2) and Westwood (-2) were Majesticks’ contributors on Saturday.
“I look at the leaderboard mostly to see how my team is playing,” said Johnson, when asked about the team aspect of LIV. “Obviously I know how I’m doing, but I’m always checking to see how the guys are playing.
“I really enjoy it. I think it’s — even going back to college and then team events I’ve played on being a pro, but it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot more camaraderie with the guys. We’re all playing at the same time, so we’re all warming up together, we’re eating together. You just spend a lot more time with the guys, and so I think it’s a lot of fun.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m really looking forward to it. I think the team aspect is a big part of this.”
Fireballs GC was alone in third on -7, with Ortiz (-2) and Sergio Garcia (-1) providing the team’s second-day scoring.
In Sunday’s final round, the top three scores count for each team.
LIV Golf Invitational at Trump Bedminster
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Henrik Stenson -9 (-2)
2. Dustin Johnson -6 (-2)
3. Talor Gooch -5 (-7)
3. Carlos Ortiz -5 (-1)
3. Patrick Reed -5 (+2)
6. Lee Westwood -4 (-2)
6. Turk Pettit -4 (-4)
6. Phachara Khongwatmai -4 (+1)
9. Charl Schwartzel -3 (-2)
9. Martin Kaymer -3 (E)
Top-5 Team Leaders
Pos-Team-To Par (Rd 2)
1. 4 ACES GC -20
Rd 1: Reed -7, Johnson -4
Rd 2: Gooch -7, Johnson -2
2. MAJESTICKS GC -14
Rd 1: Stenson -7, Poulter -3
Rd 2: Stenson -2, Westwood -2
3. FIREBALLS GC -7
Rd 1: Ortiz -4, Sergio Garcia -1
Rd 2: Ortiz -1, Garcia -1
4. IRON HEADS GC -5
Rd 1: Khongwatmai -5, Scott Vincent -1
Rd 2: Khongwatmai +1, Sadom Kaewkanjana E
5. STINGER GC -4
Rd 1: Schwartzel -1, Branden Grace -1
Rd 2: Schwartzel -2, Louis Oosthuizen E