Harold Varner III takes a two-shot lead after the first round at LIV DC in Washington; PGA champion Brooks Koepka tied for par after shooting in the opening 72nd; defending Open champion Cameron Smith tied for third at four under par; Varner is looking for his first win at LIV and his first win since February 2022
Last update: 05/27/23 12:19 am
Harold Varner III made two eagles en route to an eight-under 64 at Trump National Golf Club in Washington, DC, to take the first-round lead at the latest LIV Golf event.
Varner is twice ahead of James Piot (six-under 66), with a group tied for third at four-under 68 with Australia’s Cameron Smith, Chile’s Mito Pereira, Kevin Na and Andy Ogletree.
Varner opened his round with a bogey on the par-3 fourth hole, but was quickly shrugged off. After a birdie returned it to par, he made an eagle two on the 317-yard par-4 ninth hole.
His second eagle came four holes later on the par-five 13th hole. He followed that up with two birdies for a 4-under three-hole run. He birdied the last two par-fives (18th and 3rd) to set the pace.
Varner, 32, is seeking his first win on the Saudi-funded LIV circuit. He’s had a good run so far and tied for 29th at both The Masters and PGA Championship this season, but his last win was in February 2022 at the Saudi International on the Asian Tour.
Piot and Ogletree are former US amateur champions among the younger pros hoping to make a mark on the new rival PGA Tour league. Piot had seven birdies and one bogey on Friday, while Ogletree had five birdies and one bogey.
Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed were among the names tied at 3-under 69, while Bryson DeChambeau and Spaniard Sergio Garcia, among others, shot 2-under 70.
Brooks Koepka, coming off his fifth career title on Sunday at the PGA Championship, opened with a par 72.
Phil Mickelson is 44th after a two-for-74 start.
Varner’s RangeGoats GC is tied with Iron Heads GC for the lead in team competition at 10-under. Varner, Talor Gooch (70) and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters (72) all counted for the RangeGoats, while Iron Heads were fueled by Captain Na, Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent (69) and New Zealand’s Danny Lee (69).
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