Brooks Koepka slumps to an even par-72 at LIV Golf’s DC event after winning the PGA Championship last week – and leader Harold Varner III by EIGHT strokes after the first round
- Brooks Koepka was back on the LIV tour after last week’s major hit
- But the American was unable to return to his best form at the Trump National
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Harold Varner III hit two eagles en route to an 8-under-par 64 at Trump National Golf Club in Washington, DC, to take the first-round lead at LIV Golf DC in Sterling, Va.
Varner has two leads over James Piot (6-under 66), with a group tied for third at 4-under 68 with Australia’s Cameron Smith, Chile’s Mito Pereira, Kevin Na and Andy Ogletree.
Brooks Koepka, who just won his fifth career major title on Sunday at the PGA Championship, started with an even par of 72.
Varner opened his round with a bogey on the par-3 fourth hole but quickly ignored it. After a birdie brought it back to par, he eagled 2 on the 317-yard, par-4 ninth hole.
His second eagle came four holes later on the par-5 13th hole. He followed that up with two birdies for a 4-under three-hole run. He birdied the last two par-5s (nos. 18 and 3) to set the tone.
Brooks Koepka has struggled to regain the form that won him the PGA Championship last week
Harold Varner III made two eagles en route to an 8-under 64 to lead after the first round
Varner, 32, is looking for his first victory on the Saudi-funded LIV circuit. He’s had a great career so far and finished 29th in both the Masters and the PGA Championship this season, but his last victory came in February 2022 at the Saudi International on the Asian Tour.
Piot and Ogletree are former American amateur winners among young pros hoping to make their mark in the upstart league rival PGA Tour. Piot had seven birdies and a bogey on Friday, while Ogletree had five birdies and a bogey.
Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed were among the tied names at 3-under 69. Bryson DeChambeau and Spaniard Sergio Garcia, among others, shot 2-under 70.
Phil Mickelson is in 44th place after opening 2 of 74.
Varner’s RangeGoats GC is tied with Iron Heads GC for the lead in team competition under 10. Varner, Talor Gooch (70) and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters (72) saw scores count for RangeGoats, while Iron Heads were powered by captain Na, Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent (69) and New Zealand’s Danny Lee ( 69).