Written by
LIV Golf Staff
May 26 2023
- 4 min
Koepka DC driver head Bynder

Harold Varner leads after an 8-under 64, and his RangeGoats share the team lead with the Iron Heads after an exciting opening round at LIV Golf DC.

Here are some other interesting news, notes and stats from the first round at Trump National Golf Club Washington DC.

BROOKS’ CRACKED DRIVER: Brooks Koepka said he cracked his driver early on Friday but because the initial damage did not meet model local rule G9 for “significant damage,” he was not able to replace it immediately. But as the driver became progressively worse, he finally was able to change it at the 11th hole.

“The toe started to kind of cave in at the end,” said Koepka, who ranked 46th out of 48 players in driving distance average Friday. “… It just feels like you’re hitting a marshmallow.”

TIPS FROM PHIL: During Thursday’s range session, James Piot worked with his HyFlyers GC Captain Phil Mickelson on his short game. Piot hit balls and Mickelson, wearing flip flops and sitting on the ground for stretches, provided advice.

“Obviously my results this year haven’t been up to what we expect as the HyFlyers,” Piot said. “He kind of took it upon himself personally. He’s like, ‘Hey, let’s get these short irons figured out.’

“So, we were working on the lies and lofts of my irons, doing blind testing. He was out there for two hours just charting where every shot I hit went. It was pretty cool just having him take two hours of his day.”

OGLETREE IN THE MIX: Reserve player Andy Ogletree is in the Crushers GC lineup this week, filling in for injured Paul Casey. He birdied three of his first five holes en route to a 68. That comes on the heels of the 62 he shot in Tulsa as a final-round replacement for Majesticks co-captain Lee Westwood.

Ogletree’s status will remain as a reserve this season but should he – or any reserve player – finish inside the top 24 in points, a spot would be secured for next season’s LIV Golf League.

Ogletree also is in good position to qualify another way. He currently leads the International Series Order of Merit on the Asian Tour through four events. The leader at the end of the 10-event schedule in 2023 will earn full-season LIV Golf playing privileges in 2024.

Click here for a full recap of the first round at LIV Golf DC.


Driving distance – Joaquin Niemann, 351.8-yard average

Longest drive – Louis Oosthuizen, 357.6 yards (18th hole)

Driving accuracy – Laurie Canter, Henrik Stenson, 79% (11 of 14)

Greens in regulation – Henrik Stenson, 89% (16 of 18)

Fewest putts – James Piot, Harold Varner III, 24 putts

Most birdies – James Piot, Cameron Smith, 7

Bogey-free rounds – None

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