Henrik Stenson was victorious at the LIV Golf Bedminster tournament on Sunday, his debut event on the controversial breakaway tour.

Sweden's former Open champion completed his 54 holes on 11 under par, putting him two clear of Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolff.

Stenson was stripped of his status as Europe's Ryder Cup captain after it was confirmed he was among the newest recruits to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf circuit.

He entered the third and final round with a three-stroke lead over Johnson, and posted three birdies and one bogey for a two-under 69 to get the job done.

Johnson, who was three under on Sunday, had to settle for matching the overall score of Wolff who put together the equal-best round of the tournament with his seven-under 64, finishing at nine under for the weekend.

Carlos Ortiz was alone in fourth at eight under, and Patrick Reed had sole possession of fifth at seven under.

With Johnson and Reed both collecting top-five finishes, and Talor Gooch being part of the five-man group at four under, their 4 Aces GC – along with fourth member Pat Perez (five over) – comfortably won the team competition, eight strokes clear of Stenson's Majesticks GC.

Brooks Koepka finished 11th at three under, alongside Martin Kaymer, while Ian Poulter was a shot back, and Charl Schwartzel snuck into the top 20 at even par.

It was a tournament to forget for Bryson DeChambeau (five over) and Phil Mickelson (six over), although Mickelson did close his weekend with his best round, shooting even par.

New signing Henrik Stenson is tied for the lead after the first round of LIV Golf Bedminster, shooting a seven-under 64 in his first event since committing to the controversial tour.

Stenson – who was stripped of his position as Ryder Cup captain due to his decision to leave the PGA Tour – collected eight birdies and one bogey, and helped his team Majesticks GC to second in the team standings at 10 under.

Tied for the individual lead is Patrick Reed, who also leads the team standings by one stroke along with his 4 Aces GC teammates Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez and Talor Gooch.

Alone in third place is Thailand's 23-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai at five under, and he is one stroke ahead of both Johnson and Carlos Ortiz, rounding out the top-five.

Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Brooks Koepka and Charles Howell III are all one shot further back at three under, while Lee Westwood headlines the group at two under, and Sergio Garcia is in the logjam at one under.

Bryson DeChambeau finished at even par after a late double-bogey, Louis Oosthuizen is at two over after posting a seven on the par-three seventh hole, and there are only three players below Phil Mickelson after he struggled to four over with five bogeys and one birdie.

Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz are tied for the lead at LIV Golf Portland after two rounds of play, heading into the final day at eight under, two strokes clear of the chasing field.

Ortiz was the outright leader after his first-round 67, following it up with a three-under 69. Johnson was outright second after Thursday, posting a 68, and he proceeded to shoot another 68 in his second trip around Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Arguably the biggest star on the LIV Golf roster after Phil Mickelson, Johnson had six birdies and one bogey on the front-nine, with three bogeys and two birdies on the back-nine keeping him from running away with a lead.

In outright third place is Branden Grace at six under, while Justin Harding is alone at five under, with the group of Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Jinchiro Kozuma, Patrick Reed and Sihwan Kim rounding out the top-10 in a tie for fifth.

With Johnson and Reed both near the top of the leaderboard, it puts their team – 4 Aces GC, along with Pat Perez and Talor Gooch – atop the teams leaderboard at 15 under, four strokes clear of the South African team Stinger GC, consisting of Grace, Oosthuizen, Hennie du Plessis and Charl Schwartzel.

After an even par opening round, Bryson DeChambeau put himself back into contention with a three-under Friday, giving him a share of 10th with Sam Horsfield.

4 Aces partners Gooch and Perez are both at two under, tied for 12th, while Martin Kaymer, Matthew Wolff and Kevin Na are the last of the players under par.

Abraham Ancer is at even par, Sergio Garcia is at two over, and Mickelson shot his second consecutive 75 to finish play at six over.

Mexico's Carlos Ortiz is the outright leader after the first round at LIV Golf Portland, finishing five under after his first trip around Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

He was on track for a bigger lead than the one stroke buffer he holds, with three birdies from his first four holes after beginning his shotgun start on the ninth tee, before back-to-back bogeys brought him back to the field.

Ortiz finished his round with three birdies on his final five holes, re-taking the lead in the final stages of play.

Dustin Johnson is just one stroke back in outright second place at four under, bogeying his first hole of the day as he started on the 18th, but it would be his only blemish, collecting five birdies and 12 pars the rest of the way.

Rounding out the top-five is Pat Perez, Hideto Tanihara, Wade Ormsby and Branden Grace in a tie for third at three under.

Playing in his first LIV Golf event, Brooks Koepka put in a good showing as one of 13 players to finish under par, tied for seventh along with Hennie du Plessis after their two-under 70s.

Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Scott Vincent and Yuki Inamori are tied for ninth at one under, while big names Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau headline the group at even par.

Koepka's brother Chase Koepka is at one over along with Mexico's Abraham Ancer, winner of LIV Golf's debut event Charl Schwartzel is at two over with Ian Poulter, and Phil Mickelson finished at three over with Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na.

There will be some high-profile debutants when the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event to be staged in the United States starts on Thursday.

Three weeks after the inaugural LIV competition at the Centurion Club, near London, took place, 48 players have headed to Portland to tee off at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

A trio of major champions will appear in the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway league for the first time in Oregon.

Stats Perform takes a look at the standout new faces who have turned their back on the PGA Tour to make their bows in a three-day LIV Golf Invitational Portland tournament that consists of 12 teams.

 

BROOKS KOEPKA

Brooks Koepka is the biggest name to have signed up since his fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson played in the opening event in England.

The four-time major winner will captain a SMASH GC side that includes his brother, Chase, this week.

Koepka had tried to fend off questions about whether he would jump ship from the PGA Tour to commit to LIV Golf ahead of the recent U.S. Open.

"I haven't given it that much thought," he said when asked if he could sign up for a lucrative deal to play on the new tour. "I don't understand. I'm trying to focus on the U.S. Open, man. I legitimately don't get it. You can’t drive a car looking in the rearview mirror, can you?"

Just a fortnight on, the former world number one said in a tense press conference two days before his LIV bow: "My opinion changed. That was it.

"You guys will never believe me, but we didn't have the conversation 'til everything was done at the U.S. Open and figured it out. Here I am."

He added: "Look, what I've had to go through the last two years on my knees, the pain, the rehab, all this stuff, you realise, you know, I need a little bit more time off. I'll be the first one to say it, it's not been an easy last couple of years, and I think having a little more breaks, a little more time at home to make sure I'm 100 per cent before I go play in an event and don't feel like I'm forced to play right away - that was a big thing for me."

 

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU

Bryson DeChambeau is another major champion who has defected from the PGA Tour.

DeChambeau starts a new chapter of his career on the back of finishing tied for 56th in the U.S. Open, two years after winning it. 

The 28-year-old will also have captaincy duties, leading the CRUSHERS GC team.

DeChambeau has not registered a victory since his Arnold Palmer Invitational win last year and will be hoping a change of tour will enable him to experience that winning feeling again.

He said of his decision to join LIV Golf: "I understand people's decisions on their comments and whatnot. As it relates to me, I've personally made that as my own decision and I won't say anymore on that, there's no need. We're golfers at the end of the day.

"I think that I respect everyone's opinion. That's the most important thing people can hopefully understand out of me, that I do respect it. But golf is a force for good, and I think as time goes on, hopefully people will see the good that they're [LIV Golf] doing and what they're trying to accomplish, rather than look at the bad that's happened before. 

"I think moving on from that is important, and going, continuing to move forward in a positive light is something that can be a force for good for the future of the game."

PATRICK REED

The 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed will also get his first experience of the LIV Golf Invitational Series this week.

Another United States Ryder Cup player, Reed will be on a 4 ACES GC team captained by Johnson.

Reed's last victory came at the Farmers Insurance Open in 2021 and he was down in a share of 49th in the U.S Open.

The 31-year-old took aim at the PGA Tour this week, saying he is looking forward to having a reduced workload.

"Listen to the players for once," he said. "We actually have an off-season where not only can we get healthy, work on our bodies, but we're basically allowing ourselves throughout the year to, you know, try to peak at the right times is when you're playing rather than feeling like you have to play every single week.

"And on top of it, just the quality of life for us as players now, having less events, being able to spend more time at home with the family, if you have kids, being able to spend time with your children, and not sitting there and having to play three, four weeks in a row, then have a week off, and during that week off you're preparing trying to get ready for the next week."

Brooks Koepka has no issue with Rory McIlroy's criticism of his decision to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series, a move he said was taken to allow more flexibility over his schedule.

Former world number one Koepka had previously stated his allegiance to the PGA Tour and commented in February that "somebody will sell out and go for it".

Koepka was not involved in the first event at Centurion Club earlier this month and was critical of reporters for casting a "black cloud" over the U.S. Open when players were probed about the controversial Saudi-backed series, which has been accused of sportswashing.

However, the four-time major winner has now signed up for the breakaway series and will tee off in Portland this week, joining the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson in doing so.

When asked about Koepka's decision last week, McIlroy said: "Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he [Koepka] said previously. That's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys, because they say one thing and then they do another. It's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing."

Asked about McIlroy's comments, Koepka replied: "Look, I've got respect for Rory as a player. He's good. He's phenomenal. 

"I'll be honest with you, I didn't see it. I didn't hear about it until basically like a day ago. So, look, he's entitled to his opinion. He can think whatever he wants. He's going to do what's best for him and his family, I'm going to do what's best for me and my family, and I can't hate on anybody for that."

Koepka insists he had not made a decision until after the U.S. Open. Asked what had changed since, he said: "Just my opinion, man. My opinion changed. That was it. 

"You guys will never believe me, but we didn't have the conversation 'til everything was done at the U.S. Open and figured it out and just said I was going to go one way or another. Here I am."

Koepka has slid down to world number 19 after contending with a series of injuries to his hip, knee and wrist.

The 32-year-old believes signing up to the LIV series will allow him more time to recover physically.

"What I've had to go through the last two years on my knees, the pain, the rehab, all this stuff, you realise, you know, I need a little bit more time off," Koepka said. 

"I'll be the first one to say it, it's not been an easy last couple of years, and I think having a little more breaks, a little more time at home to make sure I'm 100 per cent before I go play in an event and don't feel like I'm forced to play right away [is good]."

Asked about accusations of sportswashing levelled against the series, Koepka replied: "You know, we've heard it. I think everybody has. It's been brought up.

"But, look, like we said, our only job is to go play golf, and that's all we're trying to do. We're trying to grow the game, do all this other stuff. And we're trying the best we can."

While several players have resigned their PGA Tour membership, including fellow defector Patrick Reed, Koepka has not done so as yet.

It remains to be seen long term what decisions will be taken by the major championships over the participation of players who have jumped ship to LIV Golf.

Koepka insists he is comfortable with whatever outcome occurs.

"You play anywhere around the world, you'll be just fine. You'll get into them. I made a decision. I'm happy with it, and whatever comes of it, I'll live with it," he said.

Scottie Scheffler has admitted it was "definitely a surprise" to see Brooks Koepka join the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Golf series as he reaffirmed his commitment to the PGA Tour.

Koepka became the latest big name to join the controversial LIV series this week, following the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer to join after its maiden event in London earlier this month.

Those moving have faced significant backlash for their decisions, with Rory McIlroy questioning the approach of the players on Wednesday, and while Scheffler was surprised, he stopped short of direct criticism.

"It was definitely a surprise for me. I was at a function with him last week and that definitely wasn't what we had in mind," he told a news conference.

"We were focused on building the PGA Tour and getting the guys that are staying here together and kind of just having talks and figuring out how we can help benefit the Tour, so to see Brooks leave was definitely a surprise for us.

"With that being said, he's made his decision, I'm not going to knock him for doing that."

The world number one also reaffirmed his own commitment to the PGA Tour and rebuffed any chances of him following in Koepka's footsteps.

"For me, it's not where I see myself heading anytime soon. I grew up wanting to be on the PGA Tour.

"I grew up dreaming of playing in these events, I didn't grow up dreaming of playing the Centurion Club in London or whatever it is. 

"I grew up wanting to play in the Masters, in Austin, at Colonial, the Byron Nelson.

"I wouldn't trade those memories for anything at this moment in time. Those memories to me are invaluable. 

"I would never risk going and losing the opportunity to go back to Augusta every year. 

"There's nothing I would want to do right now that would risk having any sort of effect on the way my life is now."

The PGA Tour has announced schedule changes and prize money increases in order to stem the flow of big-name players joining the rival LIV Golf International Series.

Brooks Koepka became the ninth major champion to sign up to the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed league, rocking the PGA Tour on Wednesday.

The American joined Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Bryson DeChambeau in the breakaway competition.

Defecting players were indefinitely suspended from PGA Tour events, but were allowed to play at last week's U.S. Open and participate in next month's 150th Open at St Andrews.

The PGA had been rumoured to be mulling over a switch to a calendar-year schedule, alongside increased purses and the creation of new no-cut international events featuring the Tour's top 50 players.

Commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed those alterations at a press conference ahead of the Travelers Championship, stressing the PGA's need to innovate to remain golf's leading competition.

"I want to talk about where the PGA Tour is headed. We don't expect to overcome this current challenge by relying on our legacy and track record alone," he said.

"We've been on a path for a number of years to strengthen and evolve our product for the benefit of our fans and players alike, those plans are obviously accelerated in light of the current environment.

"We have some exciting developments coming out of yesterday's policy board meeting that will further secure our status as the pre-eminent golf tour in the world.

"This includes moving forward with our future product model for the 2022-23 season and beyond, a return to a calendar-year schedule beginning in 2024, with the FedEx Cup contested from January to August, culminating with the FedEx Cup play-offs and followed by the fall events.

"[The Tour will also add] revised field sizes for the FedEx Cup play-offs in 2023 and beyond, [and] the creation of a series of up to three international events, to be played after the conclusion of the fall schedule, which will include the top 50 players from the FedEx Cup points list.

"Alongside these changes, the policy board also amended the resource allocation plan, to increase purse sizes at eight events during the 2022-23 season, with an average purse at $20million. 

"There is more work to be done, and details to confirm, but implementing substantial changes to our schedule gives us the best opportunity to not only drive earnings to our players, but also improve our product and create a platform for continued growth in the future."

Rory McIlroy, a vocal opponent of LIV Golf, had earlier stated he supported the changes, saying to Sky Sports: "I think having the FedExCup season go to a calendar year, that would be a pretty good idea.

"So then it gives guys the opportunity to play if they want to play in the fall, or if they don't want to play in the fall they don't have to, they're not forced to.

"You're trying to give playing opportunities and create prize funds for the lower half of the membership, but also trying to accommodate what the upper half of the membership want as well with an off-season, time away from the FedExCup schedule. So it's a balance."

Monahan added the PGA could not wish to compete financially with the rival tour, headed by two-time major champion Greg Norman, which he described as "irrational".

"I am not naive," Monahan said. "If this is an arms race and if the only weapons are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.

"We welcome good healthy competition, the LIV series is not that. It's an irrational threat, one not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game. 

"Currently no one organisation owns or dominates the game of golf, instead the various entities work together to meet our own respective priorities but with the best interests of the game at heart.

"When someone attempts to buy the sport and dismantle the institutions that are intrinsically invested in growth and focus only on a personal priority, that partnership evaporates. 

"Instead we end up with one person, one entity, using endless amounts of money to direct employees towards their personal goals, which may or may not change tomorrow or the next day.

"I doubt that's the vision any of us have for the game."

Rory McIlroy labelled breakaway players joining the LIV Golf International Series as "duplicitous" before Brooks Koepka became the latest high-profile name to leave the PGA Tour.

McIlroy has been a critic of LIV Golf, the controversial Saudi-backed competition, with opponents accusing the breakaway league of sportswashing.

However, that has not stopped the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia leaving the PGA Tour, who have indefinitely banned the defectors from returning.

Koepka was confirmed on Wednesday as the next big name to join and is the ninth major winner to sign for LIV Golf, with world number 20 Abraham Ancer also being linked with the tournament.

Four-time major winner Koepka refused to discuss LIV Golf at last week's U.S. Open, where he said he was "tired of conversations" and debates were "throwing a black cloud" over the third major of 2022.

Koepka subsequently withdrew from the Travelers Championship, which is the next PGA Tour event on Thursday, and will feature at the second LIV Golf event in Portland.

That has led to more debate around the breakaway league, and McIlroy feels his fellow golfers are not staying true to their word.

"Am I surprised?" McIlroy told reporters in Connecticut before Koepka's switch was confirmed. "Yes, because of what he said previously.

"I think that's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys because they say one thing and then they do another, and I don't understand that and I don't know if that's for legal reasons or if they can't – I have no idea.

"But it's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing…the whole way through, in public and private, all of it."

McIlroy has enjoyed an upturn in fortunes over the last month, triumphing at the Canadian Open before finishing in a tie for fifth at the U.S. Open.

The 33-year-old admitted that tiredness is becoming a factor as he prepares for his fourth tournament in as many weeks, but remains excited to compete at the Travelers Championship.

"I got a night in my own bed down in Florida on Monday night, which was really nice," he added.

"But, yes, I came back up here yesterday and played the pro-am today and going to get an early night tonight. I've got an early start again tomorrow.

"But excited to get going and especially continuing the run of form I'm on. I'm playing some really good golf and I want to continue trying to do that.

"I think the three weeks that I've played, like Memorial's a very demanding golf course. Canada wasn't so demanding but when you get yourself in contention and you play a weekend like that, then that takes quite a lot out of you. And then you follow that up with a US Open. So I think it's a combination of everything.

"Mentally I'm totally fine, but it will be nice to sort of rest up this afternoon and get another good night's sleep and get ready to play tomorrow.

"But four weeks in a row is pretty rare for me these days. I haven't played four in a row in a while and you start to remember why!"

Brooks Koepka has become the latest high-profile player to trade the PGA Tour for the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia were among the early joiners of the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway competition, which started earlier in June in London.

Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed followed suit as they announced their intention to play in LIV Golf tournaments, with all participants aware they would be indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour.

The breakaway golfers were still allowed to participate at the U.S. Open, where Koepka said he was "tired of conversations" about the new circuit and asserted LIV Golf debates were "throwing a black cloud" over the third major of 2022.

Four-time major winner Koepka, who finished 55th at Brookline, then removed all references to the PGA Tour from his social media profiles as expectations grew that he would trade allegiances.

The world number 19's move was subsequently confirmed on Wednesday and he will feature in the second event at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, which starts on July 3.

"There's no understating the impact that Brooks Koepka has had on the game of golf in the last five years," LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman said.

"He carries a championship pedigree and record of success as one of the most elite players in the world

"The addition of Brooks is yet another example of the incredible fields LIV Golf is assembling as we build momentum in our first season and look towards the future."

Six further tournaments will follow for LIV Golf this season, with the total prize fund for the eight competitions £200million, with Charl Schwartzel collecting £3.9m when he won the opening 54-hole competition.

Uncertainty remains as to what the breakaway league means for further participation at the majors, with USGA chief executive Mike Whan admitting he could foresee a day where players may be banned.

Koepka becomes the ninth major champion to defect to LIV Golf, along with Garcia, Johnson, Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Schwartzel and DeChambeau.

World ranking points remain unavailable for LIV Golf events, but Norman – himself a two-time major champion – has said an application for that to change has been submitted.

Collin Morikawa has flatly dismissed talk that he could join the exodus from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The Open champion and former US PGA winner had been linked in some reports as a player that might switch allegiance, but the 25-year-old American said that simply is not true.

Morikawa, who finished tied for fifth place at the U.S. Open last week, issued his denial on Twitter.

He wrote: "Last week at my press conference, I said the media loves creating drama. Sure enough, I woke up this morning to everyone thinking I'm next. Not to say I told you so but…I told you so.

"To state for the record, once again, you all are absolutely wrong. I've said it since February at Riviera that I'm here to stay on the @PGATOUR and nothing has changed. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some cereal to pour in my milk."

The Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway competition, which started earlier in June in London, has already drawn major-winning big names including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.

Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed followed suit to play in LIV Golf tournaments, with all participants aware they would be indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour.

The 'rebel' players were still allowed to play the U.S. Open, where four-time major winner Brooks Koepka said he was "tired of conversations", arguing LIV Golf debates were "throwing a black cloud" over the third major of 2022.

Now Koepka is said to have agreed a switch to LIV Golf, where players have been richly rewarded for agreeing to join the series, although he has yet to confirm the move.

Widespread reports have said Koepka will play the 54-hole tournament in Portland, Oregon, that runs from June 30 to July 2.

Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen are the 36-hole leaders of the U.S. Open after an entertaining second round at The Country Club on Friday, tied at five under.

Dahmen was one stroke off the lead after the first round, and he followed it up with a strong 68 in windy conditions. He is one of three players to shoot 68 or better in the opening two rounds. Morikawa came into the day at one under, and shot the round of the day as the only player to get around in 66. 

One stroke back from the lead is a five-man group headlined by stars Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, along with American duo Hayden Buckley and Aaron Wise. Buckley and Wise were the two players along Dahmen to shoot back-to-back 68s.

Beau Hossler joined that group at four under thanks to a chip-in birdie on his final hole.

World number one Scottie Scheffler is part of the group at three under, and he shared the early clubhouse lead following a three-under 67. He is joined by Nick Hardy, Matthew NeSmith, Patrick Rodgers and Brian Harman to round out the top-10.

Overnight leader Adam Hadwin is a further shot back at two under with Sam Burns and Matt Fitzpatrick, while South Africa's M.J. Daffue – who was three strokes clear atop the leaderboard early in his round at six under – posted five bogeys and no birdies down the back nine to head into the weekend at one under.

Also at one under are hopefuls Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris, still well within striking distance, while Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka headline the group at even par.

Star-studded duo Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are at one over, and the pair of Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau are at two over, one stroke clear of the cut-line.

Finishing right on the cut-line at three over was recent winner Lee Kyoung-hoon and Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, who has a pair of top-three finishes this season.

Plenty of big names missed the cut, with the international contingent of Spain's Sergio Garcia, Ireland's Shane Lowry, Chile's Mito Pereira and Canada's Corey Conners all one shot out at four over. Tony Finau finished five over, Cameron Smith was six over, and the pair of Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland were both at seven over.

 

Shot of the day

Cameron Young had a moment he will never forget when he conjured up a hole-in-one at the par-three sixth.

There were huge cheers after the American's dream tee shot at the 165-yard hole dropped in. Young was unable to make the cut – missing out by one stroke – but not without achieving a rare feat.

Player of the day - Collin Morikawa

Morikawa produced the round of the day to ensure he is the man to catch heading into the weekend.

The two-time major winner was not at his brilliant best, but five birdies and just the one bogey at the par-five fourth putting him in the lead.

Chipping in

Morikawa: "No one has taken it deep so far and kind of run away, but you know what, right now my game feels really good. The last few days is a huge confidence booster for me heading into this weekend, and hopefully we can kind of make some separation somehow."

Scheffler: "I've been number one in the world for a while now, and it doesn't really feel like it, so I kind of like just under the radar. I can show up and do my thing and then go home and rest."

 

A little birdie told me...

- Young's ace was the 48th in US Open history.

- Nick Hardy and M.J. Daffue emerged from the Springfield, Ohio qualifying. They both held a share of the lead on Friday.

- Scheffler is bidding to become only the second player to win this major while world number one since the Official World Golf Rankings began in 1986. Tiger Woods (2000, 2002 and 2008) is the only man to achieved that.

- Matthew Fitzpatrick is looking to emulate Jack Nicklaus by winning the US Amateur and US Open on the same course.

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Im Sung-jae who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Sungjae Im who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

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