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RD. 1 NEWS AND NOTES: KAYMER ROUNDING INTO FORM IN HOUSTON

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Written by
LIV Golf Staff
Jun 07 2024
- 3 MIN
Kaymer swing Houston

HUMBLE, Texas – It's tight at the top of the LIV Golf Houston leaderboard, with Caleb Surratt, Martin Kaymer and Adrian Meronk tied for the individual lead, but there were plenty more news, notes and stats from the opening round at the Golf Club of Houston.

RELATED: THREE TIED AT TOP; CLEEKS TOP TEAM LEADERBOARD IN HOUSTON

KAYMER ROUNDING INTO FORM: Cleeks GC Captain Martin Kaymer’s bogey-free 7-under 65 is his lowest round relative to par in LIV Golf. It’s the perfect continuation of a resurgence in play now that he’s no longer compromised by the wrist issues that have impacted his performance the last 18 months.

Kaymer entered LIV Golf Houston off back-to-back top-20 finishes in Adelaide and Singapore, his best two-start stretch since the inaugural 2022 season.

“It all started in Hong Kong and then I was getting better and better,” said Kaymer, whose round was fueled by four consecutive birdies starting on the first hole. “Little things, once they fall into place, then rounds like this can happen.

“I’m still not there where I would like to be, but it’s all fairly consistent now.”

The timing of Kaymer’s improved play couldn’t be better scripted. He’s one of 12 LIV Golf players in next week’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst, the place he dominated 10 years ago by 8 strokes for his second major title.

Not that he’s thinking about it this week in Houston.

“I still have to play two more rounds,” Kaymer said, “then my mindset will go to Pinehurst.”


SURRATT’S COURSE FAMILIARITY: Many players in the 54-man field have competed at the Golf Club of Houston when it hosted the Houston Open, but that’s been at least five years ago.

Caleb Surratt, the least experienced player in the field, might have the most recent course experience next to local resident Patrick Reed. While playing at the University of Tennessee, Surratt competed in a collegiate event 15 months ago at the course.

“It was definitely in a little different condition and a lot more fans and a little harder setup,” Surratt said of Friday’s return. “But I’ve seen the golf course and I feel comfortable.”


SPEAKING OF REED: The 4Aces GC star had a significant following of family, friends and fans en route to a 5-under 67 that leaves him in a seven-way tie for sixth entering the second round.

“Definitely gave me a lot of energy today to go out there and go shoot a number for them and play well,” said Reed. “Hopefully go out this weekend and continue that momentum.”


MERONK’S STRING MUSIC: Co-leader Adrian Meronk of Cleeks GC put together two strings of three consecutive birdies in his bogey-free 65. It’s his lowest round relative to par in LIV Golf since his 8-under 62 in the opening round at LIV Golf Jeddah.


PAST WINNERS: Five past winners of the Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston are in the field this week.

Majesticks GC Co-Captain Ian Poulter (2018 winner) and Crushers GCs Paul Casey (2009 winner) had the lowest rounds Friday, each shooting a 5-under 67.

Ripper GC’s Matt Jones (2014 winner) shot 68 while HyFlyers GC Captain Phil Mickelson (2011 winner) shot 71.

Wild Card player Anthony Kim, whose 2010 Houston Open win was his last victory before retiring two years later, was 1 under until bogeying his final two holes to settle for a 73.

“Disappointing last 2 holes but saw so many positives today,” Kim wrote on his X account.


CATLIN MAKES LIV GOLF DEBUT: John Catlin, the Asian Tour points leader who is filling in for injured Crushers GC player Charles Howell III, shot a 1-under 71 in his first round at a LIV Golf tournament.


ROUND 1 STATS LEADERS

Driving accuracy: Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Danny Lee, Brooks Koepka, 85.71% (12 of 14 fairways hit)

Driving distance: Carlos Ortiz, 336.5 yards avg.

Longest drive: Matthew Wolff, 361.4 yards, 13th hole

Greens in regulation: Paul Casey, Kalle Samooja, Mito Pereira, Brendan Steele, Henrik Stenson, John Catlin, 83.33% (15 of 18 greens)

Scrambling: Lucas Herbert (8 of 8), Adrian Meronk (8 of 8), Matt Jones (7 of 7), Louis Oosthuizen (7 of 7), Martin Kaymer (5 of 5), Joaquin Niemann (5 of 5), Caleb Surratt (4 of 4), Paul Casey (3 of 3), Henrik Stenson (3 of 3), 100%

Putting: Adrian Meronk, 1.22 putts per hole

Bogey-free rounds: Martin Kaymer (65), Adrian Meronk (65), Caleb Surratt (65), Joaquin Niemann (67), Paul Casey (67), Matt Jones (68), Louis Oosthuizen (69), Lucas Herbert (69), Henrik Stenson (70)

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