Carlos Ortiz leads the LIV Golf tournament at Pumpkin Ridge, with Dustin Johnson one stroke back.

The inaugural LIV Golf tournament in the United States is led by a first-time competitor in the rival series.

Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz, who joined the LIV Series earlier this week, fired a 5-under 67 to grab a one-shot lead after the first round at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon.

Dustin Johnson, the LIV tour’s highest-ranked player at world No. 17, is one stroke behind Ortiz after a 68 that included five birdies and one bogey.

Ortiz, who is rated 119th in the world, won the Houston Open in 2020, his only PGA Tour title. His 67 on Thursday contained seven birdies, four of which came on the front nine.

Pat Perez (T-3, 69) and Brooks Koepka are also in the top ten after Round 1. (T-6, 70). This week marks the LIV debuts of both Americans.

“”With the 54-hole format, you need to get off to a solid start and obviously stick with it because there’s no real letting up,” Perez said. “Every shot, I believe, signifies a little more.”

Day 1 action also saw even-par 72s from Matthew Wolff, Patrick Reed, and Bryson DeChambeau in their tour debuts. Phil Mickelson shot a 3-over 75 to tie for 30th with Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, and Lee Westwood.

This is LIV’s second event. The inaugural event, held outside of London earlier this month, was won by former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, who took home $4.75 million.

The new series, led by CEO Greg Norman, intends to compete with the PGA Tour and has enticed players with large signing bonuses and large prize money. However, some see the trip as an effort at “”sportswashing” to divert attention away from Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations, particularly the 2018 murder of US-based writer Jamal Khashoggi.

On Thursday, around ten family members and survivors of the September 11 terrorist attacks spoke at a neighbouring veterans’ park.

“”This event is nothing more than a collection of extraordinarily brilliant sportsmen who appear to have turned their backs on the crime of murder,” stated World Trade Center towers survivor Tim Frolich.

The money is part of LIV Golf’s attraction for players. The 48-man field is vying for a $20 million purse, with an extra $5 million prize money for a team competition, in addition to substantial signing bonuses.

There is no cut, and even the last-place finisher receives a $120,000 payoff.

Thursday’s team leaders were a Johnson-led squad that featured Perez, Reed, and Talor Gooch. They were 7 under par.

Because the tournament was held on two courses, estimating audience estimates was impossible, and LIV Golf did not provide attendance data.

On opening day, Mickelson, a six-time major champion and top draw on the tour, had one of the larger galleries.

In response to LIV Golf’s challenge, the PGA Tour suspended every active member who played in the inaugural LIV tournament. Those that perform in Oregon will also be suspended unless they quit from the tour.

 

LIV Golf: Portland

PLAYER TEAM SCORE
1. Carlos Ortiz Fireballs GC 67 (-5)
2. Dustin Johnson 4 Aces GC 68 (-4)
T-3. Pat Perez 4 Aces GC 69 (-3)
T-3. Hideto Tanihara Torque GC 69 (-3)
T-3. Branden Grace Stinger GC 69 (-3)
T-6. Brooks Koepka Smash GC 70 (-2)
T-6. Hennie Du Plessis Stinger GC 70 (-2)
T-6. Wade Ormsby Punch GC 70 (-2)
T-9. Louis Oosthuizen Stinger GC 71 (-1)
T-9. Jinichiro Kozuma Torque GC 71 (-1)
T-9. Yuki Inamori Torque GC 71 (-1)
T-9. Martin Kaymer Cleeks GC 71 (-1)
T-9. Scott Vincent Gleeks GC 71 (-1)
T-14. Matthew Wolff Hy Flers GC 72 (E)
T-14. Patrick Reed 4 Aces GC 72 (E)
T-14. Sihwan Kim Iron Heads GC 72 (E)
T-14. Justin Harding Crushers GC 72 (E)
T-14. Talor Gooch 4 Aces GC 72 (E)
T-14. Bryson Dechambeau Crushers GC 72 (E)
T-21. Abraham Ancer Fireballs GC 73 (+1)
T-21. Sam Horsfield Majesticks GC 73 (+1)
T-21. James Piot Niblicks GC 73 (+1)
T-21. Chase Koepka Smash GC 73 (+1)
T-25. Charl Schwartzel Stinger GC 74 (+2)
T-25. Richard Bland Smash GC 74 (+2)
T-25. Matthew Jones Punch GC 74 (+2)
T-25. Adrian Otaegui Smash GC 74 (+2)
T-25. Hudson Swafford Niblicks GC 74 (+2)
T-25. Peter Uihlein Crushers GC 74 (+2)
T-30. Phil Mickelson Hy Flyers GC 75 (+3)
T-30. Ian Poulter Majesticks GC 75 (+3)
T-30. Shaun Norris Crushers GC 75 (+3)
T-30. Ryosuke Kinoshita Torque GC 75 (+3)
T-30. Laurie Canter Majesticks GC 75 (+3)
T-30. Sergio Garcia Fireballs GC 75 (+3)
T-30. Kevin Na Iron Heads GC 75 (+3)
T-37. Lee Westwood Majesticks GC 76 (+4)
T-37. Jediah Morgan Punch GC 76 (+4)
T-37. Ian Snyman Cleeks GC 76 (+4)
T-37. Euginio Chacarra Fireballs GC 76 (+4)
T-41. Phachara Khongwatmai Iron Heads GC 77 (+5)
T-41. Travis Smyth Niblicks GC 77 (+5)
T-41. Bernd Wiesberger Hy Flyers GC 77 (+5)
44. Turk Pettit Cleeks GC 78 (+6)
T-45. Blake Windred Punch GC 79 (+7)
T-45. Itthipat Buranatanyarat Hy Flyers GC 79 (+7)
T-45. Graeme McDowell Niblicks GC 79 (+7)
48. Sadom Kaewkanjana Iron Heads GC 82 (+10)

 


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