Graeme McDowell’s opening round of 70 left the Northern Irishman tied for 33rd at LIV Golf’s Chicago Invitational at Rich Harvest Farms, with the trio of Jediah Morgan, Louis Oosthuizen and Sebastian Muños leading the tournament on five-under par.
McDowell’s improved with clusters of birdies in the back half of his round to keep his score under par as he attempts to make his way up the LIV Golf rankings.
Stinger GC topped the team standings after the opening day of action in Illinois with a combined score of -13, while Fireballs GC and Crushers GC sit a place back on -12.
McDowell started his round with a slew of pars as he eased his way into his opening round, but his run of eight consecutive pars in as many holes was put to an end with a dropped shot on the 16th. He dropped another shot on the 504-yard 18th which sent the Portrush native onto two-over-par through 10 holes.
Consecutive birdies on the first and second holes helped but his third bogey of the day would come shortly after on the fourth, leaving him on one-over through 15. A strong finish from GMac though left him on one-under par and with a share of 33rd place.
Although it was not the most impressive round from McDowell, he was his team’s highest scorer with Bernd Wiesberger and Richard Bland both playing level-par opening rounds. This cumulative score of -1 leaves Cleeks GC bottom of the team standings and twelve shots behind the leaders.
Captain of Stinger GC and joint leader after day one, Louis Oosthuizen, spoke to the media after his strong opening round at Rich Harvest Meadows which saw both him and his team leading the tournament.
“Yeah, just a good solid round,” said the Stinger GC captain, “I didn’t make a lot of mistakes and I made a good par on 18 so apart from that it was one of those stress-free rounds.”
Oosthuizen also talked about his team’s ambitions of winning the Chicago tournament after finishing third in their last three outings.
“You need three guys to play well. We had such a poor start at Bedminster and we went from tied for the lead to six or seven behind in not many holes. I think the start is always crucial on that last day, but we’re playing well”
Although the entire Stinger GC team will be focused on the task at hand tomorrow, another notable sporting event in France will be on the minds of the team of South Africans.
“It’s going to be a difficult one because there’s no way that all of us will not look at our phones to see the score,” Oosthuizen joked, “We’re playing Ireland tomorrow and it’s a 2:00 start. We’ve got a TV in here, and afterwards, we’re going to go straight there and try and put the game on and rewatch it.”