BEDMINSTER, New Jersey – After 18 holes of the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson sit atop of a star-studded leaderboard at Trump National in New Jersey.
The major champions shot matching rounds of 64 and will enter Saturday’s second round tied for the lead on 7-under par.
Reed offset a single bogey with eight birdies, including six gains in a seven-hole stretch (Nos. 4-10), then capped it off with a final-hole birdie to secure a share of the day-one lead.
“Just kind of felt like I was putting the ball in the right place,” said Reed, who led the field with 25 putts. “Around a golf course like this, even though the greens are relatively large, you’ve got to put the ball in the right spots.
“I felt like I left myself below the hole most of the day, so I was able to be aggressive with the putter. With how pure these greens are, once one goes in, it kind of felt like I was able to get on that run.”
Henrik Stenson of Majesticks GC plays his shot from the 16th tee during day 1 of the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Trump National GC on July 29, 2022 in Bedminster, NJ. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins via Getty Images)
Stenson, meanwhile, called his day “the best I’ve played all year.”
“Unlike Patrick, I did end up on the high side a couple of times, and even though I had really short birdie putts, had to be very cautious,” said Stenson, after his debut round with LIV Golf.
“The greens are running really quickly. They’re pure and quick, and then you’ve got the slope on top of that.”
Two off the pace was Phachara Khongwatmai, who opened with a 66, one clear of Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz who shared the fourth spot on 4-under 67.
One further back, on 3-under 68, was the marquee foursome of Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Brooks Koepka and Charles Howell III, who was making his debut in the breakaway league.
“It was fun, the music playing. I really liked that,” said Howell. “I play a lot of professional events. Never played with that. It was actually really fun.
“It was relaxed, but the golf course is challenging and tough. … Once we started, it was a golf tournament again on a hard golf course.”
A group of five more players were T10 on 2 under, headlined by Lee Westwood and Jason Kokrak.
In the team competition, Reed (-7) and Johnson (-4) teamed up to give the 4 Aces GC a one-stroke lead over Stenson’s Majesticks GC (Stenson -7, Poulter -3).