C. Smith up 1 at LIV London after bogey-free day

C. Smith up 1 at LIV London after bogey-free day

Cameron Smith shot a bogey-free 63 on Friday to finish 8 under par and take a 1-shot lead after the first round of the LIV Golf event at Centurion Club in London.

This week marks the return of LIV Golf to where it debuted last June, with Charl Schwartzel taking home the title.

Smith finished with eight birdies while his Ripper GC teammate and fellow Australian Marc Leishman also sank eight birdies but bogeyed the third hole and is 1 shot back. Smith birdied three straight holes twice: 9-11 and 13-15.

“It was just really good,” Smith said of his round. “Wasn’t much bad stuff in there, to be honest. Probably got a little bit scratchy there through the end of the tough bit of that front nine, but I don’t really put that down to really poor swings, kind of just mental errors. But left them in pretty good spots anyway. All in all, yeah, really solid.”

Leishman was also pleased with his performance after four straight early birdies.

“Yeah, happy with the day,” he said. “I didn’t do too much wrong. Pretty tough stretch from sort of 1 through to about 7 I would say and played them really well with only one bogey and a couple of birdies. Yeah, happy to get out of there with a 7 under and a good start to the tournament.”

Belgium’s Thomas Pieters of RangeGoats GC is in third, 3 shots off the lead, after bogeys on the sixth, eighth and 17th holes.

Peters’ teammate Talor Gooch, who won last week at Andalucia, sits in fourth, 4 shots back, after posting bogeys on the fourth, 12th and 17th holes.

“This golf course is not as easy as what [Smith] just made it look,” Gooch said. “There’s some tricky pins out there and some uncomfortable tee balls.”

Cameron Tringale and England’s Laurie Canter are tied with Gooch at 4 under, while Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, England’s Richard Bland, South Africa’s Branden Grace and India’s Anirban Lahiri are tied at 3 under.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who had three bogeys and five birdies, is among seven players at 2 under along with James Piot, Jason Kokrak, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and England’s Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

On the team side, Ripper — captain Smith, Leishman and Matt Jones — finished 13 under and holds a 3-shot lead over RangeGoats, which comprises Peters, Gooch and captain Bubba Watson. Majesticks GC (co-captains Poulter and Stenson, along with Canter) are 5 back of the lead.

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