Smith opens strongly at LIV Bedminster Invitational

Conor Cantwell

Captain Cameron Smith of Ripper GC (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf)

Cameron Smith’s round of 66 gives him the solo lead at the top of the LIV Golf Bedminster Invitational in New Jersey with a score of five-under par, with Charles Howell III a shot back on 4 under while Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson sit further shot back on 3 under.

Smith’s steady opening round included three birdies on the front nine and followed that up with three birdies on the back nine, with a bogey on the 16th the only blemish on his scorecard.

The Australian also provided one of the shots of the day, recovering from an errand tee shot to get back within a couple dozen feet of the green with an exceptionally clean shot from the tarmac in front of the clubhouse.


And speaking of one of the shots of the day – Charles Howell’s approach shot on the 9th was flighted perfectly and with enough backspin so that when it found the green, it spun in laser-like fashion giving the Florida native an impressive eagle that would send him into the lead through ten holes.

This exceptional shot masked some of the up-and-down play of the American’s round as he played only seven of the eighteen holes to par.

Meanwhile, the Joker to Rory McIlroy’s Batman – Patrick Reed – was far steadier than his American counterpart at the top of the scoring charts. Reed shot a bogey-free round of 68 which meant the Texan never strayed too far from the top of the leaderboard in the opening round, with his par-or-under round the only one recorded at Bedminster today.

Dustin Johnson’s round of 68 was derailed by a double bogey on the 11th – without which he would have the joint clubhouse lead alongside Cameron Smith.

Other notable names such as Bubba Watson (-2), Phil Mickelson and Joaquin Niemann (both -1) finished under par after the opening day of play, while Kevin Na, Tyler Gooch and Henrick Stenson all end the day as they began, on level par.

Regarding the team standings after round one in New Jersey, Ripper GC are out in front with a combined score of four under par, with Cameron Smith’s opening round lifting the opening eighteen holes of Marc Leishmann (E) and Jediah Morgan (+1).

The combined efforts of Stinger GC – who sit second amongst the teams after the opening round – included solid scores from the South African trio of Dean Burmester (-2), Brandon Grace (-1) and Charl Schwartzel (E).

4Aces GC make up the top three among team performers with with Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed’s impressive rounds balancing out a three over par performance by their teammate, Peter Uihlein.

Round 2 of the Bedmister Invitational in New Jersey tees off at 1:15 pm local time (6:15 pm Irish time.)


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