Wolff fires 61 at Greenbrier: ‘I promise, I’m trying’

Wolff fires 61 at Greenbrier: ‘I promise, I’m trying’

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Matthew Wolff put the attention on his golf game Friday when he got off to a torrid start and then had three late birdies for a 9-under 61, giving him a 2-shot lead after the opening round of LIV Golf Greenbrier.

David Puig and Harold Varner III each had a 63 on the Old White course, which previously had a nine-year run hosting a PGA Tour event.

Wolff was criticized last month by his Smash captain, Brooks Koepka, who accused him in a Sports Illustrated interview of quitting during rounds and not putting in the effort. Koepka referred to Wolff as “talent wasted.”

Wolff issued a statement saying he is making progress on his mental health and that it was heartbreaking to hear his team captain use the media to say he had given up on Wolff.

The former Oklahoma State star had no issues on the golf course. He was 6 under par through his opening seven holes, including an eagle on the par-5 12th. And then Wolff closed with three birdies over his last four holes to tie the Saudi-backed golf league’s lowest score on record, originally set by Varner.

“I didn’t really feel like I needed to prove anything to anyone. Just to myself, really,” Wolff said Friday. “But at the end of the day, it’s just golf. I mean, you play bad and then you play good. … At the end of the day, I’m doing what I can and trying to shoot the lowest score I can every day. I promise, I’m trying.”

Puig had eight birdies and one bogey Friday, while Varner holed an eagle at the par-5 17th hole to go with five birdies.

“That was awesome. I like making eagles, and I’m super fortunate to make a lot of them right now, so enjoy it while it’s happening,” Varner said.

Koepka and Jason Kokrak each had 65 as Smash built a 4-shot lead in the team competition.

LIV has three players in the 48-man league who have won at the Greenbrier, but only one of them has had success in the opening round. Joaquin Niemann, who won the last version of the Greenbrier Classic in 2019, had a 65. Kevin Na was tied for last with a 73, while Danny Lee shot 71.

Three-time LIV winner Talor Gooch was at 65.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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