BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – Branden Grace set a LIV Golf record for lowest single-round score, firing a 9-under 61 on Friday to take the lead at LIV Golf Tulsa.
Here are some other interesting news, notes and stats from the opening round in Oklahoma.
COWBOYS AND SOONER UPDATE: Six LIV Golf League members played collegiately in the state of Oklahoma – five at Oklahoma State (Talor Gooch, Charles Howell III, Peter Uihlein, Matthew Wolff and Eugenio Chacarra) and one at Oklahoma (Abraham Ancer).
Of the six, Wolff posted the lowest round with a 4-under 66. Gooch and Ancer each shot 68, while Chacarra shot 69. Howell, the three-time All-American and the winner this season at the opening event in Mayakoba, shot an even-par 70, while Uihlein shot 71.
Gooch, Uihlein and Howell entered the week ranked as the top three players in the season-long Individual Champion standings.
BLUE RIBBONS FOR BLAND: Famed South African golfer John Bland passed away on Tuesday at the age of 77. Stinger GC players, caddies and staff wore blue ribbons in their caps in memory of Bland, winner of more than 30 pro tournaments.
Branden Grace lived on the same golf course as Bland in George, South Africa, and reached out to Bland’s wife about the ribbon color. She told him that Bland’s favorite color was blue due to his support of the Blue Bulls rugby team.
“The team, the caddies, the whole staff, we’re all thinking of him,” Grace said. “Maybe he looked down on us today.”
A COURSE FOR ALL STYLES: The first-round leaderboard reflects a variety of different styles, and HyFlyers GC’s Brendan Steele considers that a compliment for Cedar Ridge.
“That’s the best compliment a course can have is that every style of play works,” Steele said. “If you hit the right shots and if you well, you’re going to be up there.”
CAM’S COUNTING STREAK: Ripper GC Captain Cameron Smith established a new LIV Golf all-time record with his 20th consecutive counting score. Smith had entered the week sharing that mark with Harold Varner III. Smith shot a 6-under 64 to lead his all-Australian team.
DJ’S RECORD: In shooting 7-under 63, Dustin Johnson extended his consecutive rounds under par streak to 12, the longest in LIV Golf history. Patrick Reed (11) and Brooks Koepka (10) also kept their active streaks alive as Johnson’s closest pursuers in that category.
Driving distance – Peter Uihlein, 331.9-yard average
Longest drive – Peter Uihlein, 351.4 yards (18th hole)
Driving accuracy – Louis Oosthuizen, 93% (13 of 14)
Greens in regulation – Chase Koepka, 100% (18 of 18)
Fewest putts – Dustin Johnson, 21 putts
Most birdies – Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson, 9
Bogey-free rounds – Branden Grace (61), Joaquin Niemann (64), Louis Oosthuizen (65), Bubba Watson (66), Laurie Canter (67)
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