DECHAMBEAU, DJ, RAHM TO BATTLE IN FINAL GROUP AT LIV GOLF LAS VEGAS

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Written by
LIV Golf Staff
Feb 09 2024
- 8 min
2024-02-09T00:00:00.000Z
FULL HIGHLIGHTS: BRYSON, DJ, RAHM RISE TO TOP OF LEADERBOARD ON DAY 2

LAS VEGAS – In a city that celebrates marquee performers on the glitziest stages, three of LIV Golf’s biggest stars will battle in the leaders group during Saturday’s final round of LIV Golf Las Vegas.

Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson are at the top of the individual leaderboard at 11 under after shooting 8-under 62s in Friday’s second round at Las Vegas Country Club.

Jon Rahm, in a three-way tie for third at 9 under after shooting 63, will join them in the threesome that tees off the first hole at 9:46 a.m. local time (12:46 p.m. ET), 11 minutes after the shotgun start of 9:35 a.m. Those three major winners had the three lowest scores in the second round.

“It's what everybody wants to see,” said Rahm, playing in his second LIV Golf tournament after joining in the offseason. “It's always a little bit better for a player when you win and you know you actually had to compete against the best in the world at their best. There's no better feeling. As much as we enjoy it, the spectators will enjoy it more.”

“It's a lot of fun anytime you get to play with the best players in the world and go head-to-head against each other,” DeChambeau said. “It's more of a sprint to the finish now, and with a lot of birdie holes out there, it's going to be exciting. A lot of fireworks.”

There were plenty of fireworks in Friday’s second round, especially from DeChambeau, who was 8 under through his first 13 holes and entertaining thoughts of another 58 (or possibly lower). Last year, the Crushers GC captain posted a final-round 58 to win in Greenbrier.

But after reeling off four consecutive birdies, DeChambeau could not sustain the momentum, finishing his round with five pars, including at the par-5 first when he found the fairway bunker and had to lay up.

“It was the weirdest 62 I’ve ever had,” said DeChambeau, who missed just one green Friday. “… Felt like I would shoot sub-60 all day and it was going that way after 16, and then I just got uncomfortable for some reason with the golf swing.

“One of the most sub-optimal 62s I’ve ever had – but I’ll take a 62 any day of the week.”

Meanwhile, Johnson was just 2 under through his first eight holes before heating up on his final 10 holes with six birdies.

“Obviously it was a good day,” said Johnson, whose 4Aces GC shares the team lead with RangeGoats GC at 26 under. “Just really solid. Drove it really well. Hit a lot of nice iron shots. Gave myself a lot of looks at birdie.”

Rahm, the Legion XIII captain, is tied with Peter Uihlein (65 on Friday) and Matthew Wolff (66). Rahm’s 63 is the lowest of his five rounds as a LIV Golf member.

“It was a very good day, very organized day I would say,” he said.

While the three major winners will be in the final group, Uihlein and Wolff can fly under the radar in the early group off the first tee. The two friends joined Bubba Watson’s RangeGoats in offseason trades and could help push each other Saturday.

“Obviously with Bryson, DJ and Rahm there, to be able to chase those guys down and get your first win would be pretty awesome,” Uihlein said.


TEAM COUNTING SCORES

Standings and counting scores for Friday’s second round of the team competition at LIV Golf Las Vegas. The three best scores from each team count in the first two rounds while all four scores count in the final round. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.

T1.4ACES GC -26 (Johnson 62, Reed 66, Perez 69; Rd. 2 score: -13)

T1. RANGEGOATS GC -26 (Uihlein 65, Wolff 66, Watson 68; Rd. 2 score: -11)

3. CRUSHERS GC -24 (DeChambeau 62, Howell III 68, Casey 70; Rd. 2 score: -10)

4. SMASH GC -23 (Gooch 66, Koepka 67, Kokrak 67; Rd. 2 score: -10)

T5. TORQUE GC -19 (Pereira 64, Niemann 66, Muñoz 68; Rd. 2 score: -12)

T5. LEGION XIII -19 (Rahm 63, Hatton 67, Surratt 69; Rd. 2 score: -11)

7. RIPPER GC -16 (Smith 66, Herbert 67, Jones 67; Rd. 2 score: -10)

8. FIREBALLS GC -15 (Puig 67, Ancer 68, Garcia 68; Rd. 2 score: -7)

9. HYFLYERS GC -13 (Ogletree 67, Steele 67, Mickelson 67; Rd. 2 score: -9)

10. CLEEKS GC -12 (Bland 65, Meronk 68, Kaymer 70; Rd. 2 score: -7)

11. STINGER GC -11 (Grace 65, Oosthuizen 67, Burmester 68; Rd. 2 score: -9)

12. IRON HEADS GC -10 (Kozuma 66, Na 68, Lee 72; Rd. 2 score: -4)

13. MAJESTICKS GC -8 (Stenson 67, Horsfield 69, Poulter 69; Rd. 2 score: -5)

ROUND 2 NOTES

DUAL PLAYOFFS LOOMING? There have been seven playoffs in LIV Golf’s first 23 tournaments, including last week at Mayakoba when Joaquin Niemann defeated Sergio Garcia on the fourth playoff hole.

All seven playoffs have been for individual titles, none for a team trophy. Given the two bunched leaderboards through 36 holes at LIV Golf Las Vegas, perhaps Saturday will produce the first dual playoffs.

In addition to Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson sharing the lead at 11 under, Johnson’s 4Aces GC share the team lead with Bubba Watson’s RangeGoats GC at 26 under. DeChambeau’s Crushers GC, last year’s Individual Champions, are third, just two shots back. Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC is another shot back in fourth.

Tied for fifth are Jon Rahm’s expansion Legion XIII, winners last week in their LIV Golf debut, and Torque GC, who celebrated Joaquin Niemann’s individual win in Mexico.

With all scores counting on Saturday, the team leaderboard and the close scores could provide dramatic swings at the top.

“Everyone is playing pretty well,” said Johnson. “We just all four need to play well tomorrow if we want a chance to win.”

If two playoffs are required Saturday, they will be played simultaneously. The captain must designate two players to represent the team in a team playoff, and none of those players can be part of the individual playoff. The team playoff is a two-ball combined score, with the lower score declared the winner.


WINDY CONDITIONS EXPECTED SATURDAY: Breezy winds between 12-14 mph are expected in the forecast at the start of Saturday’s final round, and those gusts could reach in the upper 20s once the players reach their final nine holes.

That might require some adjustments after the first two rounds of mild but chilly weather that offered optimal scoring conditions.

“The wind, if it becomes a little bit unpredictable, which can happen with the trees, it can be a little bit more difficult, but even then, you're still going to need a low one,” said Jon Rahm. “Somebody is going to come out here, hit it good and make birdies either way.”


INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION LURKING: New Smash GC member Talor Gooch, last year’s season-long Individual Champion, is lurking on the leaderboard at 8 under, tied for sixth. Gooch opened his 2024 season with a 1-over 72 at Mayakoba but shot 5 under in the next two rounds to finish tied for 15th. He’s shot consecutive 66s this week.


WILD CARD GOES WILD: Laurie Canter, one of two wild card players this week not affiliated with any team, tied for the fourth-lowest score of the day with a 6-under 64 that leaves him at 7 under and tied for eighth.

As a wild card, Canter can win individual prize money and accumulate individual points throughout the season in hopes of finishing in the top 24 Lock Zone and a guaranteed spot in the 2025 LIV Golf League.


KIERAN’S BIG DRIVES: For the second time in five rounds this season, Legion XIII’s Kieran Vincent led the field in driving distance with a 326.3-yard average on Saturday. He also had the longest drive of the day at 341.7 yards on the second hole.


PEREIRA BOUNCES BACK: Torque GC’s Mito Pereira had the worst score of the first round, a 6-over 76. He was 12 shots better on Friday with a 6-under 66 that leaves him tied for 44th at even par.


JUST SIX PLAYERS OVER PAR: Of the 54 players in the field, 48 shot even par or better on Friday. The scoring average for the field was 67.889.

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