sábado, 14 de octubre de 2023

LIV GOLF JEDDAH: KOEPKA EYES REPEAT; CRUSHERS TAKE TEAM LEAD; GOOCH PROJECTED NO. 1

 




 

Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka leads by three shots heading into Sunday's final round. (Photo by Charles Laberge/LIV Golf)

 

  Although Talor Gooch isn’t atop the tournament leaderboard through two rounds of LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN, he does lead the projections for the Individual Champion race.
 
If he plays well Sunday and everything falls his way, the RangeGoats GC star will earn a memorable season-long title, as well as the $18 million bonus. The final round at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club will complete the regular season competition for the crown.
 
“I think everyone knows what’s on the line tomorrow, and that’s going to build the intensity of it,” Gooch said. “… It’s such an incredible opportunity, so you’ve just got to take it in stride and just embrace it.
 
“I knew it was going to come down to Sunday.” 

 

            


 

Talor Gooch of RangeGoats GC shot a 64 on Saturday at LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN. (Photo by Jon Ferrey/LIV Golf)

 

Starting the tournament in second place in the overall standings behind Ripper GC Captain Cameron Smith, Gooch is now projected into the top spot after his 64 on Saturday moved him into a four-way tie for ninth on the tournament leaderboard at 6 under, six shots behind tournament leader Brooks Koepka.
 
Smith is at 2 under after his 68 and is tied for 25th, which earns no points and would drop him to No. 2 in the Individual standings.
 
The other player with Individual Champion aspirations is Crushers GC Captain Bryson DeChambeau, who made a big charge Saturday with a 7-under 63 that leaves him at 8 under and tied for fourth. DeChambeau needs to finish in the top three to have any chance at the title, but his fate also depends on how Smith and Gooch finish.
 
“All I’m focused on tomorrow is winning this tournament, and the rest will take care of itself,” DeChambeau said. “The job is not even close to being done. We’ve got 18 more holes.”

            


 

Charles Howell III of Crushers GC sits tied-second following round two of LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN. (Photo by Charles Laberge/LIV Golf)

 

Winning the tournament will be a challenge if Koepka continues his impressive play at Royal Greens.
 
The Smash GC captain won here last year after opening with a 62. He matched that score on Saturday, shooting a bogey-free 8-under round in which he opened with six birdies in his first eight holes.
 
At 12 under for the tournament, he leads Fireballs GC Captain Sergio Garcia and the Crushers’ Charles Howell III by three strokes, with DeChambeau and Scott Vincent – who also shot 62 on Saturday – another stroke back.
 
Koepka started the tournament too far back in points to challenge for the Individual title, but he does have an opportunity to finish third in the standings and claim a $4 million bonus. He must repeat as tournament champion and hope DeChambeau finishes no better than 14th.
 
“Just keep doing what I’m doing,” Koepka said. “Seems to be working since I’m at the top.”

 

Scott Vincent of Iron Heads GC shot a 62 on Saturday at LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN. (Photo by Matthew Harris/LIV Golf)

 

Vincent, a member of Iron Heads GC, also has a huge opportunity on Sunday. He started the week outside the Lock Zone – the top 24 in points who earn guaranteed spots in next year’s LIV Golf League. But his second-round 62 now projects him into 24th in the standings.
 
“Tomorrow’s a big day,” Vincent said. “You can’t hide from that.”
 
Meanwhile, team seeds will also be determined, with the top four seeds receiving quarterfinal byes for next week’s Team Championship in Miami.
 
RangeGoats GC is projected to move ahead of Stinger GC for the final bye, while DeChambeau’s Crushers GC are 22 under and have a three-stroke lead on the tournament leaderboard, projecting them to the No. 1 seed ahead of 4Aces GC.
 
“Definitely want to win the team championship and be first in the points list going to Miami,” said DeChambeau, whose Crushers have won twice this year, including the previous LIV Golf event in Chicago. “We’re that good of a team, and my boys have worked really hard this year. If we play well tomorrow, we definitely deserve to be up in that No. 1 spot.”

 

TEAM COUNTING SCORES
Here are the standings and counting scores for Saturday’s second round of the team competition at LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title. In addition, the season standings after LIV Golf Jeddah will determine seeds for next week’s Team Championship in Miami.
 
1. CRUSHERS GC (-22): Bryson DeChambeau 63, Charles Howell III 64, Anirban Lahiri 67 (Rd. 2 score: -16)
 
T2. SMASH GC (-19): Brooks Koepka 62, Jason Kokrak 65, Matthew Wolff 65 (Rd. 2 score: -18)
 
T2. FIREBALLS GC (-19): Sergio Garcia 63, Eugenio Chacarra 66, Abraham Ancer 67 (Rd. 2 score: -14)
 
4. TORQUE GC (-17): Joaquin Niemann 65, Mito Pereira 65, David Puig 67 (Rd. 2 score: -13)
 
5. RANGEGOATS GC (-15): Talor Gooch 64, Thomas Pieters 67, Harold Varner III 67 (Rd. 2 score: -12)
 
6. HYFLYERS GC (-14): Brendan Steele 65, Cameron Tringale 65, Phil Mickelson 68 (Rd. 2 score: -12)
 
7. RIPPER GC (-13): Matt Jones 67, Jediah Morgan 68, Cameron Smith 68 (Rd. 2 score: -7)
 
8. STINGER GC (-12): Dean Burmester 65, Charl Schwartzel 67, Branden Grace 68 (Rd. 2 score: -10)
 
T9. 4ACES GC (-11): Dustin Johnson 68, Patrick Reed 68, Peter Uihlein 68 (Rd. 2 score: -6)
 
T9. CLEEKS GC (-11): Martin Kaymer 66, Bernd Wiesberger 68, Richard Bland 69 (Rd. 2 score: -7)
 
T9. IRON HEADS GC (-11): Scott Vincent 62, Danny Lee 67, Sihwan Kim 71 (Rd. 2 score: -10)
 
12. MAJESTICKS GC (-2): Ian Poulter 68, Lee Westwood 70, Henrik Stenson 71 (Rd. 2 score: -1)

 

NOTES 

VINCENT PROJECTED INTO LOCK ZONE: Iron Heads GC’s Scott Vincent earned his way into the 2023 LIV Golf League season by virtue of his performance last year on the International Series as the Order of Merit leader.
 
Now he’s one round away from earning his way into the 2024 LIV Golf League season.
 
Vincent’s 8-under 62 on Saturday at Royal Greens moved him into a tie for fourth with Bryson DeChambeau on the tournament leaderboard. At 8 under for the tournament, he’s four strokes behind leader Brooks Koepka.
 
Just as important, he’s now projected to move into the Top 24 in the season-long points standings. If he stays there after Sunday’s final round, he will finish in the Lock Zone – the top 24 players who are guaranteed spots next season.
 
“It’s obviously on my mind,” Vincent said, “but it’s something that I can’t really focus on myself. We’ve got one more day of golf. And that’s kind of what I’m focusing on. It’s just about being in the present for me. I’m really grateful to be out here playing and competing with amazing players. And it is going to be an awesome battle tomorrow.”
 
RELEGATION WATCH: Cleeks GC’s Bernd Wiesberger is projected to fall into the Drop Zone and face relegation – and it could be because of his captain, Martin Kaymer.
 
Kaymer started the week with zero points, but he’s now projected to finish with eight points. His 4-under 66 on Saturday moved him to 6 under for the tournament and in a four-way tie for ninth.
 
Wiesberger, who entered the week with eight points, is at 1 under for the tournament and tied for 31st, which means he would receive no additional points.
 
If Kaymer and Wiesberger finish with eight points each, Kaymer would win the season-long tiebreaker due to having the better result in a tournament this season.
 
Wiesberger, who started the week ranked 44th in points, is projected to drop to 45th. Non-captains who finish 45th or lower after Jeddah will be relegated out of the league, although they will have a chance to play their way back in at the Promotion tournament later this year.
 
The four players who started the week in the Drop Zone – Jediah Morgan, James Piot, Chase Koepka and Sihwan Kim – remain there after two rounds.
 
SERGIO LIKES FIREBALLS MOMENTUM: Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs GC are too far behind in the season-long team standings to grab one of the top four seeds and a bye for next week’s Team Championship in Miami.
 
But the Fireballs are trending well. After a second-place finish in Chicago, they are tied for second through two rounds in Jeddah at 19 under, three strokes behind Crushers GC.
 
Garcia’s 7-under 63 certainly helped the Fireballs’ efforts on Saturday.
 
“Momentum is always good,” Garcia said. “It’s always important. It’s always positive. Obviously having a couple good weeks coming into Miami, it’s great.”
 
NO BOGEYS FOR SMASH: Saturday’s three counting scores for Smash GC included Brooks Koepka’s 8-under 62 and 5-under 65s from Jason Kokrak and Matthew Wolff. That’s 18 under for 54 holes played – and all three players went bogey-free.
 
“Never really felt like I had a chance to make a bogey,” Koepka said.
 
Smash is at 19 under and tied with Fireballs GC for second place.

LAHIRI DISTRACTED BY CRICKET WORLD CUP: Crushers GC’s Anirban Lahiri put together a much-improved performance in the second round despite a massive distraction.

The Indian, who is 10th in the individual standings with three second-place finishes this season, needed to focus hard on his golf while also keep one eye on what was going on in the India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup match.

Lahiri is a huge cricket fan and could not help checking the score several times during the round. He said on his fourth hole, he checked the score and then “promptly hit a shot into the palm trees and lost my ball,” said Lahiri, who provided one of the Crushers’ counting scores Saturday with a 67. “So, it was time to focus on my own golf.”

 

RD. 2 STAT LEADERS

Driving distance
– Sihwan Kim, 341.7-yard average
 
Longest drive – Sihwan Kim, 383.0 yards (9th hole)
 
Driving accuracy – Brooks Koepka, 86% (12 of 14)
 
Greens in regulation – Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, 89% (16 of 18)
 
Scrambling – Brooks Koepka (6 of 6), Talor Gooch (5 of 5), Eugenio Chacarra (5 of 5), Matthew Wolff (5 of 5), Jason Kokrak (3 of 3), Lee Westwood (3 of 3), Joaquin Niemann (2 of 2), 100%
 
Fewest putts – Brooks Koepka, Danny Lee, 22 putts
 
Most birdies – Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, 8
 
Bogey-free rounds – Brooks Koepka (62), Talor Gooch (64), Joaquin Niemann (65), Jason Kokrak (65), Matthew Wolff (65), Eugenio Chacarra (66)

 

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