Stenson and Reed lead; Mickelson is having a tough day

BEDMINSTER, NJ — Henrik Stenson has made a happy return to golf after being stripped as captain of Team Europe at the Ryder Cup. He had eight birdies in his debut at the LIV Golf Tour in Bedminster to post a 64 and tied with Patrick Reed after 18 holes.

Phil Mickelson’s return to the region has not been so happy.

As he made a tee shot at the Trump National Bedminster, an onlooker shouted, “Do it for the Saudi Royal Family!”

Mickelson is immensely popular in the New York area, having won a PGA Championship at nearby Baltusrol and finishing second at the US Open four times in New York. He is now considered the head recruiter for Greg Norman and the Saudi-funded LIV series. He sat out for four months earlier this year after derogatory remarks about the Saudis and the PGA Tour.

“I think I’ve always enjoyed playing in this region. We had a great day afterwards,” said Mickelson. I think it was a good day overall. I didn’t really think about it. »

The rest of his day didn’t go much better, especially the end. He missed a 12-foot putt for a birdie on his last hole, then overshot the hole for par.

He ended his day with a score of 75.

Stenson is among four new players added to the 48-man roster for the third event in the LIV series. He pledged full support for the European Tour in March when he accepted the Ryder Cup captaincy and then joined LIV for a fee of around US$50 million.

The circuit stripped him of his captaincy last week when the rival circuit announced his signing.

Reed also shot a 64 in his second LIV tournament. He stalled six birdies on a seven-hole streak early in the round.

Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai for his part delivered a card of 66, while Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz follow at 67.

Charles Howell III (68) and Jason Kokrak (69) were also in their LIV Tour debuts, while fourth addition Paul Casey settled for a 73.


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