Bryson DeChambeau says he is "not worried" about the PGA Tour's decision to indefinitely ban players who have defected to the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The sport is embroiled in a battle between the PGA Tour and the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf, with 2020 US Open champion DeChambeau one of those who has chosen to break away.

Henrik Stenson also chose to defect and was subsequently stripped of Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy before he won the third LIV event in New Jersey last week, while other players such as Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia have joined too.

It has since been reported that Tiger Woods was offered up to $800million to join LIV Golf, though he chose to reject the money in order to stay with the PGA Tour.

The Wall Street Journal have reported that Mickelson and DeChambeau, as well as a number of other defectors, are planning to sue the PGA Tour over their suspensions.

But DeChambeau was not concerned about this development and was instead enthused by what LIV Golf could do for players financially, telling Fox News: "It doesn't make sense [the ban].

"I'm not worried about that. I think it will get figured out. I personally know that it will get figured out, whether it's legally or whether they come to the table and work out terms. I definitely think it will all wash itself out in the future, pretty shortly.

"Any time anyone invests over a billion dollars into the game of golf, how is that not going to grow the game and how is that not going to provide more opportunities?

"This is our livelihoods and it was a great economic opportunity for golfers to make a lot of money. That's why we grew up playing golf - also for the history, to go and win majors, PGA Tour events and now I want to win LIV events.

"You can see the passion and competitive aspect of this environment out here and we all want to win every single week."

Sergio Garcia has revealed he will "hold off" on quitting the DP World Tour, claiming he remains hopeful he can feature at the Ryder Cup despite signing up to feature in the LIV Golf series.

Garcia is one of several big names to join Greg Norman's controversial breakaway tour in recent months, and declared earlier in July he was "quite clear" on his intention to quit the European circuit. 

At this month's Open, the 2017 Masters champion also said he had all but given up on another Ryder Cup appearance after claiming he was "not wanted" on the European tour. 

Last week, Europe's 2023 Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role after signing up to the LIV circuit, while both the PGA and DP World Tours have looked to sanction players joining the series.

But Garcia has gone back on his earlier pledge, and says he will wait for clarification on his chances of Ryder Cup participation before making any decision on his future.

"When I finished the Open Championship [last] Sunday, I said that I was most likely going to resign my membership from the [DP World] Tour," Garcia told ESPN. "That obviously meant not being eligible for the Ryder Cup because you have to be a member.

"[But] I had a couple of good conversations with guys on the [DP World] Tour, I'm going to hold off on that.

"I want to at least see what's happening when Ryder Cup qualification starts. See what kind of rules and eligibilities they have in there. If I agree with what they [are], I'll definitely keep playing whatever I can on the tour and try to qualify for that Ryder Cup team.

"And if not, then we'll move on. But it is definitely something that is in my mind.

"I told Keith Pelley [chief executive of the DP World Tour]: 'I want to keep being a member of the DP World Tour. I want to play my minimum, still support the tour, still have my eligibilities to make Ryder Cup teams.

"He said: 'That's great, but we've got to do what's best for us'. We'll see what that is."

However, Garcia did express sympathy for Stenson, describing the Swede's Ryder Cup ousting as "sad".

"Now it's gotten a little bit sadder with fines and bans," Garcia added. "What they did to Henrik. It's a little bit sad."

Garcia finished 24th in LIV Golf's first event in London at the start of June before posting a 26th-placed finish in Portland in early July. 

Sergio Garcia announced he will resign from the DP World Tour and abandon hope of another Ryder Cup appearance, as he completed what is likely to be his last appearance in a St Andrews-staged Open Championship.

The bombshell announcement came after his final round of the major at the 'home of golf', with Garcia underlining his commitment to the controversial, Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

It remains to be seen whether those on that circuit will be able to play in future majors, but Garcia told Spanish media he is giving up on the idea of playing tournaments on the DP World Tour, which was previously known as the European Tour.

It would leave him sidelined for future editions of the Ryder Cup, the contest between Europe and the United States in which he is the record points-scorer.

"I am quite clear about what I am going to do with the European circuit. Probably leave it," Garcia said, quoted by AS. "Honestly, I want to play where they want me and right now I don't feel wanted on the European Tour."

He reacted angrily to Thomas Bjorn's criticism of the players who have signed up for the lucrative LIV Golf series, saying he did not need to accept "nonsense like that".

"I have what I have and I will try to enjoy it. I'll play less, I'll be at home more, if I don't play majors then I don't play them... I don't care much either," Garcia said.

"I feel a little sorry for the Ryder [Cup], but playing the way I'm playing I'm not going to play the Ryder. We will enjoy what we have, we will play where they want us. I haven't officially communicated anything yet, but I'm going to do it."

The 42-year-old Spaniard, who won the 2017 Masters, is sorry he never had the chance to play with his great compatriot Seve Ballesteros at St Andrews, and said there would be "a little bit of disappointment" if he never wins the tournament.

Garcia has twice been an Open runner-up, losing in a play-off to Padraig Harrington in 2007 at Carnoustie, then finishing two shots behind Rory McIlroy in 2014 at Royal Liverpool.

He made his Open debut as a 16-year-old amateur in 1996 and has not been in the mix this week, with a second round of 66 only serving to repair the damage from a 75 on Thursday.

Asked if there would be a sense of regret if he was sidelined from future Opens and never lifted the Claret Jug, Garcia said on Sunday: "I wouldn't say regret. Obviously a little bit of disappointment because I've been close and I love this championship and these crowds very much. Sometimes you don't get what you want or what you wish."

Looking at St Andrews in particular, Garcia said the Open's next return to the Scottish links, likely to come in 2030, might be too far off into the future for him to return.

"I don't know, when is the next one here? 2030. Yeah, probably tough," he said. "And the way everyone is reacting to us [the LIV Golf players], probably even tougher. It is what it is. Things come to an end."

Garcia, who has had two top-10 finishes in Open Championships at St Andrews, spoke of his memories of the course.

"I have some good ones, obviously. Unfortunately I never got to play with Seve here," he said. "That would have been fun."

The golf from Garcia this week was not good enough to contend, with a closing 73 seeing him finish on two-under par.

Asked how he had enjoyed competing on the Fife coast, Garcia said: "Not very much. I enjoyed the crowd, but that was about it."

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.

Adam Hadwin ended Thursday as the outright leader following the opening round of the U.S. Open in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The Canadian shot a four-under-par round of 66, one ahead of five players tied for second, including Rory McIlroy, who had been four under himself before bogeying his final hole on the ninth.

Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth, Joel Dahmen and M.J. Daffue sit alongside McIlroy, with seven more players on two under, including Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson.

It was otherwise not a great day for some of the LIV Golf International Series participants, with Phil Mickelson carding an opening round of 78 (seven over), while Louis Oosthuizen managed just one shot better and Sergio Garcia finished on four over.

LIV Golf's new additions Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau ended even par and one over respectively. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler recovered from a wobbly start to finish on even par, while PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas ended the day one under, as did the man he beat in a playoff for that trophy, Will Zalatoris.

Defending champion Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Adam Scott also shot one-under rounds of 69, while world number four Patrick Cantlay came away from Thursday two over.

Shot of the day

After ending up just off the green in the longer grass on the 12th, a precision chip from Matt Fitzpatrick still had a significant distance to travel, but slowly rolled its way straight into the hole to the delight of the Englishman and the Brookline crowd, sending him back to two-under straight after bogeying the 11th.

Player of the day - Adam Hadwin

Hadwin sat on one over after three holes, before birdieing five of the next six to catapult himself into the leading pack. The 34-year-old has never finished higher than T39th in this tournament, and also responded to a bogey at 12 with another immediate birdie at 13, and then ended with five tidy pars to head into day two as the outright leader.

Chipping in

Rory McIlroy: "I'm going into tomorrow with the mindset of 'let's keep it going', rather than 'where is the cut line' or whatever. If you don't get off to a great start, those thoughts start to creep in, 'okay, what do I need to just be here for the weekend?'"

Jon Rahm (asked about two children stealing his ball on the 18th hole): "Yes… I'm pretty sure I know who it was. I recognised the two kids that were running the opposite way with a smile on their face. (Laughing) I am 100 per cent sure I saw the two kids that stole it."

A little birdie told me...

- McIlroy's 67 was the 13th of his career at the U.S. Open, now level with Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia for most by a European player at the tournament.

- Lingmerth, ranked 592nd in the world, has never finished worse than tied for 21st in three previous U.S. Open appearances, and the Swede started with a promising 67 here.

- The first round scoring average of the last 10 winners at the U.S. Open is 69.1, with 25 players hitting under that on Thursday.

Jon Rahm says he is unsurprised by the amount of big-name golfers participating in the LIV Golf series given the financial rewards on offer, but sees more "meaning" in competing for historic prizes on the PGA Tour.

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, which held its first event in London last weekend with victor Charl Schwartzel pocketing $4.75million as the inaugural winner, has attracted several the game's biggest names by offering eye-watering prize sums.

The likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are among those to have signed up to the new circuit, with players participating in the first LIV event having been suspended by the PGA Tour last week.

Other stars, including Rory McIlroy, have made their opposition to the new tour clear, with the four-time major winner claiming on Tuesday it will "fracture" the sport.

And while world number two Rahm respects other players' decisions to feature in the breakaway competition, he simply does not see the appeal.

Speaking ahead of the U.S. Open, defending champion Rahm explained that he sees more "meaning" in competing with the world's best players in historic competitions on the PGA Tour.

"I mean, hundreds of millions of dollars are a pretty good damn reason for people to decide and go, and I see a lot of comments that's regarding it, but the high majority of the population, if they offered you 100 million or more for the next four years, a lot of people would go, right?" he said. 

"I'm not surprised at the number of players that went. I do see the appeal that other people see towards LIV Golf.

"[But] to be honest, part of the format is not really appealing to me. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that's been going on for hundreds of years. 

"There's meaning when you win the Memorial Championship. There's meaning when you win Arnold Palmer's event at Bay Hill. There's a meaning when you win, [at] LA, Torrey, some of the historic venues. That to me matters a lot.

"My heart is with the PGA Tour. That's all I can say. It's not my business or my character to judge anybody who thinks otherwise."

Rahm also added that the financial rewards on offer on the new tour – headed up by chief executive Greg Norman – would not change his mind.

"Truth be told, I could retire right now with what I've made and live a very happy life and not play golf again," the 27-year-old said. 

"I've never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I've always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that."

Rahm's compatriot Garcia, meanwhile, joined Johnson in resigning his membership of the PGA Tour last month.

While Rahm says Garcia's decision is none of his concern, he hopes the split will not impact players' chances of competing at the Ryder Cup.

"[It's] not my business," he added. "He has given golf, [the] European Tour and the PGA Tour 20, 25 years of his life. It's his decision. It's not my job to judge. 

"That's all I can say. I don't know what's going to happen. I think the one thing that keeps coming to me out of all this and what can happen… I hope the Ryder Cup doesn't suffer.

"Are they going to be able to play Ryder Cup or not, the players that went? In my mind, Sergio, even if he is not breaking 90, he's a no-brainer pick, right? So what's going to happen? 

"You have quite a few young Americans. Bryson went, somebody that's probably going to be on the team in the future. 

"I think a week like that is a true essence of the game. That's where we all love to play."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan described the LIV Golf Invitational as a "series of exhibition matches" while defending his decision to suspend players who defected to the breakaway series.

Charl Schwartzel, who won the inaugural LIV event near London this weekend, has been suspended from the PGA Tour along with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia for their involvement in the series.

The LIV series is set to hold eight 54-hole, no-cut tournaments with 48-man fields this year, with players not only earning significantly higher prize money, but taking substantial sign-on fees. Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have been the latest to defect.

Asked why golfers cannot compete on both tours, Monahan took an assertive stance.

"Why do they need us so badly? Those players have chosen to sign multi-year, lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again," he said on CBS' broadcast of the Canadian Open.

"You look at that versus what we see here today, and that's why they need us so badly.

"You've got true, pure competition, the best players in the world here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching. And in this game, it's true and pure competition that creates the profiles and presences of the world's greatest players."

Monahan was particularly critical of LIV's source of investment, with the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia which has been accused of sports washing and using the tour to take attention away from a history of human rights abuses.

He also said players who defected would "have to be living under a rock" to not consider that context, but chose instead to relate the significant outlay to sign players and hold events to the potential return on investment.

"It’s not an issue for me, because I don’t work for the Saudi Arabian government," Monahan said. "But it probably is an issue for players who chose to go and take that money. I think you have to ask yourself the question, why?

"Why is this group spending so much money — billions of dollars — recruiting players and chasing a concept with no possibility of a return? At the same time, there’s been a lot of questions, a lot of comments, about the growth of the game. And I ask, how is this good for the game?

"I would ask any player that has left, or any player that would consider leaving, have you ever had to apologise for being a member of the PGA Tour?"

Sergio Garcia appeared to suggest he is ready to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series – the Super Golf League – in a moment of frustration at the Wells Fargo Championship.

The former Masters champion was handed a penalty by a PGA Tour referee during Thursday's first round for taking too long looking for a lost ball at the 10th hole.

A statement later clarified the referee was not aware much of Garcia's time was spent trying to access the other side of a creek where he had been told the ball landed.

This "inadvertent error" meant the time clock was not paused as it should have been, although Garcia's score was not altered following the clarification.

The Spaniard was informed of this decision, but he had already made his anger clear.

Television coverage showed Garcia ranting: "I can't wait to leave this tour. I can't wait to get out of here.

"Just a couple more weeks and I don't have to deal with you any more."

Those comments seemingly confirmed Garcia's decision to head to LIV Golf, which begins its breakaway league in London next month.

Garcia reportedly refused to speak to reporters and clarify his comments following his three-under 67.

A chip-in on the 15th hole propelled Jason Day to the outright lead on his way to a seven-under 63 in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

After a solid front nine, where he birdied three of his first five holes, it was an action-packed second nine. He birdied 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16, with his sole bogey coming on the 13th.

Only posting three top-10 finishes from 22 events last season – with a best result of tied-seventh – Day is already in search of his third top-10 result this season in his 11th event, seemingly rediscovering some of the form that has seen him spend 51 weeks as the world number one.

Speaking to the media after stepping off the 18th green, Day was careful to not get ahead of himself, but emphasised his focus on creativity as opposed to just technique.

"I'm obviously, I think, a long way away from being that confident in myself in regards to my game," he said.

"But I feel like [with what I've worked on with my swing] I'm a little bit more creative on the golf course, because at some point you have to get out of the technical aspect and go more creative.

"I feel like things are progressing nicely, and I just have to keep my head down and keep going.

"It is actually very encouraging [to be healthy and confident in his body] because typically if I play well, then people ask me how my back is, and that's probably not something you want to always constantly want to be talking about.

"I've done a lot of work, and been very diligent and disciplined in my approach to staying healthy. I get hiccups every now and then, but for the most part – touch wood – I've been really good."

There was a spectacular start to the day for American Joel Dahmen, who was six under through eight holes, including four consecutive birdies starting on the fifth, before cooling off and finishing at six under for outright second.

One shot further back in the group tied for third were England's Aaron Rai and Callum Tarren, who had just one bogey between them.

Rickie Fowler highlighted the next group at four under after coming back from one over through eight holes, with four birdies, one eagle and one bogey in the last 10. 

Fowler sat one stroke ahead of a logjam at three under, which included defending champion Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Max Homa and Matt Kuchar, with England's Matt Fitzpatrick and India's Anirban Lahiri at two under.

Sergio Garcia made a positive start to his year as a five-under-par 67 put him among the front-runners at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Spaniard Garcia had just two top-10 finishes on the European Tour last season, but one of those came at this event, and he showed his liking for the tournament he won in 2017 with another sparkling round.

It was not enough for the lead, with Denmark's Joachim B Hansen ahead of the field thanks to an impressive 65 that featured birdies at four of the first five holes.

Garcia held a share of third place through 18 holes, with South African Justin Harding nudging up to second on six under through 17 holes before darkness forced him to delay completing his round until Friday.

It was as a 19-year-old in 1999 that Garcia first won on the European Tour, which has been renamed as the DP World Tour this season, with that breakthrough triumph coming at the Irish Open.

He was a champion twice on the tour that year, landed six victories in the 2000s and added eight European Tour titles in the 2010s, including a Masters victory, which counted to his win list on both sides of the Atlantic.

Now, at the age of 42, Garcia is bidding to win on the tour in a fourth successive decade, and this was a strong start, as he made five birdies and did not drop a shot.

"It was good. I think obviously it got a little bit more challenging the last couple of holes with left-to-right wind," he said. "I made a couple of nice par saves at the right times and kept it in play for the most part. I hit a good amount of greens and when I didn't, my chipping and putting was there to help me. So that was good."

In an interview on the European Tour website, Garcia added: "I still have a lot of things I want to achieve. I want to keep trying, to get better, challenge myself to improve. That's never easy and as you get older it's obviously tougher, but I'll work hard and hopefully keep fighting."

Garcia had company on five under from fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, as well as Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, Italy's Andrea Pavan, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.

Open champion Collin Morikawa was in a group on four under, with defending Dubai champion Paul Casey two shots further back. Rory McIlroy was three under par through five holes of his round, having started on the back nine, but he fell away to a one-under 71 for a share of 46th place.

Matthew Wolff could not duplicate the career-best form he showed in the opening round of the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on Friday, but he remains atop the leaderboard entering the weekend. 

Wolff carded a 68 in the second round to sit at 13 under par for the tournament at El Camaleon Golf Club, bogeying two of the last three holes after posting a flawless 61 Thursday. 

The 22-year-old American holds a two-stroke lead on countryman Scottie Scheffler (64), with home-crowd favourite Carlos Ortiz (65) and defending champion Viktor Hovland (65) three back at 10 under.

Sergio Garcia (69) and Justin Thomas (65) are among 10 players at nine under for the tournament. 

"It was a hard finish, but I was really happy with how I played today," Wolff said. "Felt like it was pretty difficult this afternoon, honestly. 

"Following a round like I had yesterday, it’s not always easy to come out and keep on making birdies and glad I proved to myself that I could do it. I put myself in a really good spot, so I’m excited for the week."

Further down the leaderboard, Justin Rose (70) is at five under, with Rickie Fowler (72), Charl Schwartzel (69), Patrick Reed (65) and Keegan Bradley (67) among those just making the cut at four under. 

On the wrong side of the line were Ian Poulter (73) at three under, Luke Donald (67) and Shane Lowry (69) at two under and Brooks Koepka (71) at even par. 

Matthew Wolff tied his career-low round to set the early pace at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Wolff was flawless in the opening round, carding a bogey-free 10-under-par 61 for a two-stroke lead at El Camaleon Golf Club on Thursday.

Winner of his sole PGA Tour title at the 2019 3M Open, Wolff has struggled over the past year, but the 22-year-old American dazzled in Playa del Carmen, where he holed 10 birdies without dropping a shot.

"I feel like I've definitely gone through some stuff in the last six or seven months, but to be able to come out of it, have a really good attitude and, you know, everything did go right today," said Wolff, who was tied for fourth at the 2020 US PGA Championship.

"But even on the second hole I think I landed it a few feet from the hole and it ripped off the green. Or on 11, my second hole. I think just my attitude about making good swings is all I can really control, it's definitely helped me out a lot and probably a good reason why I'm playing so well right now."

Aaron Wise is Wolff's nearest challenger at eight under heading into Friday's second round, while Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Sergio Garcia and Talor Gooch are a shot further back.

Defending champion Viktor Hovland opened his bid for back-to-back titles with a four-under-par 67.

Norwegian star Hovland is looking to become the first Mayakoba champion to successfully defend his crown.

Former world number one Justin Thomas ended the round a stroke further back following his 68 as four-time major champion Brooks Koepka shot an even-par 71.

Robert Streb leads The CJ Cup by one stroke following the opening round as American star Dustin Johnson struggled.

Streb carded a career-low 11-under-par 61 to set the early pace at The Summit Club in Nevada on Thursday.

The two-time PGA Tour champion joined Brandt Snedeker (2007 Farmers Insurance Open) as the only players to start a tournament at seven under in their first six holes (in the ShotLink era).

Streb made a red-hot start, having gone birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie in his opening six holes and while he bogeyed the 11th following the turn, the American reeled off another five birdies to close out the day.

"I've never had a start like that, so it was kind of fun," Streb said. "I was trying to stay in the moment as best I can and, I don't know, you just feel like you can start aiming at stuff. Things seemed to be going my way.

"Slowed down a little I guess in the middle, but it was a really, really good round. Even that bogey, I almost made the putt, so it just went really well."

Countryman Keith Mitchell is Streb's nearest rival, while Harry Higgs is three strokes off the pace at eight under heading into the second round.

Sergio Garcia, Viktor Hovland and Hudson Swafford are a shot further back, one stroke better off than Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, former world number one Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

Four-time major winner and 2018 champion Brooks Koepka shot a first-round 67 to be within six strokes of Streb, while Rory McIlroy – featuring for the first time since his dismal Ryder Cup campaign for Europe – posted a four-under-par 68.

Justin Thomas, a two-time winner of the event, had to settle for an opening-round 69 as former world number one Johnson endured a forgettable two-over-par 74.

After a flawless front nine, which featured two birdies, Johnson capitulated with a double-bogey and three bogeys on the back nine.

Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris shot a course record 11-under 61 to move into a share of the lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship alongside Nick Watney and Sahith Theegala on Friday.

Zalatoris, Watney and day one leader Theegala are all 13 under at the halfway point, with American pair Cameron Young and Hayden Buckley one stroke behind at the Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi.

Sergio Garcia followed his Ryder Cup disappointment by failing to make the cut, with back-to-back rounds of 70.

Zalatoris, who finished one shot behind Hideki Matsuyama at the Masters in April, shot 11 birdies to steal the show on Friday.

The 25-year-old Californian had carded a two-under 70 in the opening round but rocketed up the leaderboard, buoyed by three birdies on his opening four holes on Saturday.

Zalatoris' round included sinking an 18-foot putt on the fourth and a 20 footer on the 18th.

"I think it's funny that I get given a hard time about my putting and if you add in Augusta last year which didn't have Shot Link I would have been a positive strokes gained putter," Zalatoris said. "Is it the prettiest? No. But am I productive? Yes.

"So the days where I make 20-footers, those are the days that I end up putting great round together, because I'm always going to be the guy that's going to hit 14 plus greens to give myself chances."

After Zalatoris' 11-under round, the next best was Young, Buckley and Denny McCarthy with seven-under 65s.

Canadian Roger Sloan is behind Young and Buckley at 11 under after two rounds, with American Sam Burns among a group of six at 10 under.

PGA Tour rookie Sahith Theegala birdied his first three holes and maintained his impressive form to lead the field after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Classic. 

The 23-year-old Californian looked right at home in Mississippi, turning in a bogey-free round for an eight-under-par 64 at the Country Club of Jackson. 

His countrymen Nick Watney and Harold Varner III were one stroke back after shooting 65, while Roger Sloan, Kurt Kitayama and Kim Si-woo were at 66. 

Fresh off his Ryder Cup disappointment, defending tournament champion Sergio Garcia was six strokes back after shooting 70 in a round that featured two birdies and 16 pars. 

Among other former major winners in the field, Keegan Bradley shot 72 and Zach Johnson 73 in the opening round. 

The story of the day, though, was Theegala, who hit 11 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in regulation.

After earning his 2021-22 PGA Tour card with a strong finish in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals last month, Theegala described his round Thursday as "stress-free". 

"I don't think I've had a lot of time to think about all this stuff, so it just feels like I'm kind of just on a roll and I'm not really thinking about big situations or stuff like that, just feels like I'm playing golf," he said. "So that's helped a little bit,not having expectations, kind of just being on a free roll the whole time."

His inexperience on Tour may bode well for Theegala this week. Six of the last seven Sanderson Farms champions have been first-time winners, with Garcia the exception. 

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