Bolton, Mass. – After day one of the LIV Golf Invitational – Boston, Matthew Wolff and Talor Gooch sit atop of a star-laden leaderboard at The International Golf Golf.
Wolff highlighted the opening round with LIV’s first ever ace. He did it on the par-3 2nd hole, and then added a second eagle on the par-5 12th. He finished with six other birdies against three bogeys en route to a 7-under par scorecard.
“Being the first one to do anything is always special, but I know for a fact I’m not going to be the last,” said Wolff, who was runner-up at the previous LIV Golf event at Bedminster. “There’s going to be people that have aces and stuff. The ace was great. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled … but I’d rather be holding that trophy at the end of the week.”
Gooch, meanwhile, reached the marquee position with eight birdies against one bogey.
“When you get it going that early, you start thinking, all right, let’s put the foot on the gas and go,” said Gooch, who has finished inside the top 10 in each of the first three events.
“When you get off to a hot start, you start thinking let’s take this as deep as we can. Unfortunately we didn’t get too deep today, but it was still a good day.”
One of the pace with rounds of 64 were Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann, who entered LIV Golf Boston as the top-ranked players in the field. They didn’t disappoint in making their presence felt immediately.
Smith’s debut as a LIV Golf member included two eagles, a chip-in birdie, a double-bogey, and a miracle par that involved damaging his gap wedge.
“Yeah, that round kind of had a bit of everything, very up-and-down,” said Smith, the reigning Open champion. “Probably wasn’t one of my best driving performances there. I was a bit disappointed with how I drove the ball, especially around here. I think I maybe got away with a few that I shouldn’t have. So something to work on tomorrow.”
Niemann finished with seven birdies against one bogey. The highlight was a stretch of four consecutive birdies on the front nine.
“I love this course,” said Niemann. “I like how you are on the tee box and you only see one hole. Normally you see a lot of grass all over the place, and here you’ve got a lot of trees and a lot of danger if you hit a bad shot.”
Both players also enjoyed the vibe in their new surroundings.
“I feel like the crowd out there is almost on top of you with the music,” said Smith. “It feels like the course has a bit of a heartbeat. Yeah, it was very different I would say, but something that I really enjoyed, and I can’t wait for this to keep going onwards and upwards.”
Said Niemann: “It was so much fun. I was talking the whole round with Talor how nice it is to have a competitive golf round where you’re really into it and you hit a bad shot or a good shot when you’re walking and hear the music and have a different mood. I was surprised how young the whole crowd was. Yeah, it was a lot of electric atmosphere.”
Two further back, on 4-under 66, was a five-player logjam including Kevin Na, Bernd Wiesberger, Paul Casey, Louis Ooshthuizen and Anirban Lahiri, who was making his debut in the breakaway league.
A group of eight more players were T10 on 3 under, headlined by Dustin Johnson.
Others in the T10 group include Jason Kokrak, Branden Grace, Lee Westwood, Pat Perez, Charles Howell III, Sadom Kaewkanjana and Harold Varner III.
In the team competition, Wolff (-7) and Wiesberger (-4) teamed up to give the Hy Flyers GC (-11) a one-stroke lead over 4 Aces, with Gooch (-7) and Johnson (-3) combining for a 10-under score.
LIV Golf Invitational Boston
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 1)
1. Matthew Wolff -7 (63)
1. Talor Gooch -7 (63)
3. Cameron Smith -6 (64)
3. Joaquin Niemann -6 (64)
5. Kevin Na -4 (66)
5. Bernd Wiesberger -4 (66)
5. Paul Casey -4 (66)
5. Louis Ooshthuizen -4 (66)
5. Anirban Lahiri -4 (66)
10. Eight Players Tied -3 (67)
Top-5 Team Leaders
Pos-Team-To Par (Rd 1)
1. HI FLYERS GC -11
(Wolff -7, Wiesberger -4)
2. 4 ACES GC -10
(Gooch -7, Johnson -3)
3. CRUSHERS GC -8
(Casey -4, Lahiri -4)
4. IRON HEADS GC -7
(Na -4, Kaewkanjana -3)
4. STINGER GC -7
(Oosthuizen -4, Grace -3)
4. PUNCH GC -7
(Smith -6, Matt Jones -1)