LIV Golf Invitational Series: Richard Bland, Branden Grace, Eugenio Lopez-Chakara in Bangkok


Richard Bland carded a seven-under 65 to share the early lead in Bangkok

Richard Bland is part of a three-way tie for the lead after a low-scoring opening round at the latest LIV Golf Invitational Series event in Bangkok.

The Englishman shot seven birdies en route to an opening round of 65 at Stonehill Golf Club, sharing the lead with South Africa’s Branden Grace and Spain’s Eugenio Lopez Chacara.

Lopez-Chakara made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch and Grace also birdied three of his last four holes to make a flawless start and reach seven under, while Mark Leishman and Ian Poulter sit in a stroke after the 66-second opening round. .

Branden Grace is still far from the top as he chases a second LIV golf win of the season

Branden Grace is still far from the top as he chases a second LIV golf win of the season

Brooks Koepka opened with a 67 to be part of a group of five sharing sixth place with Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell opening with four-under 68s to leave them in eleventh place.

Dustin Johnson, who tops the money list with more than $12.5 million in five events, shot a two-under 70. Cameron Smith, winner of the most recent Golf Leaf event in Chicago, tied for 41st after a level 72.

Dustin Johnson believes it's fair for LIV Tour players to earn official world ranking points, but doesn't expect retroactive points from the first five events of the LIV Series

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Dustin Johnson believes it’s fair for LIV Tour players to earn official world ranking points, but doesn’t expect retroactive points from the first five events of the LIV Series

Dustin Johnson believes it’s fair for LIV Tour players to earn official world ranking points, but doesn’t expect retroactive points from the first five events of the LIV Series

In team competition, the Fireballs GC – led by Sergio Garcia and featuring Lopez-Chacarra – had a one-shot lead at 14 over Cleeks GC. 4 Aces GC, chasing a fifth straight win, is 10th out of 12 teams.

Golfers will miss out on World Ranking points this season

Before play began, players learned that they still would not be able to accumulate ranking points in the LIV Golf Invitational Series this season, despite the new “strategic alliance” between the breakout circuit and the MENA Tour.

The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) said in a statement on Thursday that the MENA Tour had not given sufficient notice to award points in this season’s remaining LIV golf events, with a decision on awarding rating points only “after review “.

Phil Mickelson is delighted to have the full support of LIV Golf as they work with MENA Tour to boost their hopes of earning World Golf Rating points.

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Phil Mickelson is delighted to have the full support of LIV Golf as they work with MENA Tour to boost their hopes of earning World Golf Rating points.

Phil Mickelson is delighted to have the full support of LIV Golf as they work with MENA Tour to boost their hopes of earning World Golf Rating points.

MENA Tour Commissioner David Spencer issued a statement in response to OWGR’s decision, insisting that the LIV Golf Championships in Bangkok meet the criteria for world ranking points.

The statement read: “We have had several contacts with OWGR since the presentation of our 2022/23 schedule, MENA Tour brochure, release criteria and our pitch ahead of the first event of our new season which starts today.

“None of these communications indicated any technical reason to treat LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok differently from any MENA Tour event, each of which has received OWGR since our adoption into the OWGR framework in 2016.

Jamie Weir explains how LIV Golf found a loophole related to the MENA Tour when it came to its members receiving world ranking points.

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Jamie Weir explains how LIV Golf found a loophole related to the MENA Tour when it came to its members receiving world ranking points.

Jamie Weir explains how LIV Golf found a loophole related to the MENA Tour when it came to its members receiving world ranking points.

“We followed OWGR’s guidelines for the 2022/23 season. Recently there has been a lot of talk in the golf world about limited field tournaments and 54 hole tournaments. For absolute clarity, OWGR itself defines a Limited Field Tournament as a tournament with less than 30 eligible players, moreover, the MENA Tour has long been blessed by OWGR for organizing 54-hole tournaments.

The OWGR states: “The primary objective of the rankings is to maintain, review, update, manage and improve the relative performance of golfers participating in the leading professional men’s tournaments around the world update, manage and improve. “

“The first MENA Tour event of the 2022/23 season, LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok, is clearly one of those tournaments and should therefore be included in this week’s OWGR events. Our event is not included in this week’s OWGR. The player’s movements are inaccurate.”

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