LIV Golf in Chicago leaderboard: Dustin Johnson up three strokes on Cameron Smith after Spherical 1

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On the LIV Golf Chicago occasion on Friday, Dustin Johnson picked up the place he left off just a few weeks in the past on the LIV Golf Boston occasion, the place he claimed his first title. Taking pictures a gap spherical of 63, D.J. leads Cam Smith by three strokes going into Spherical 2 on Saturday. He additionally helped his group, 4 Aces, to a complete of 11 beneath, which places them in line for what can be their fourth consecutive group win.

Johnson, who began on the primary gap on Thursday, went out in 30 and solely missed one or two pictures over the 5 hours of play in Spherical 1. With an opportunity at 59 lingering, he stalled out a bit in the long run however was nonetheless happy along with his efficiency, regardless of taking part in the final six holes in simply 1-under par.

“I struck the ball very well clearly … it was actually strong all day,” mentioned Johnson. “Hit it actually shut. I did not have many lengthy putts, however I holed lots of putt inside 10 ft. I struck it actually, very well right this moment.”

When D.J. will get sizzling, that is what he does. He has the tendency to tear off a number of occasions in a row regardless of the place he is taking part in or whom he is taking part in in opposition to. This occurred most notably again in 2017 when he received three straight tournaments main into the Masters earlier than withdrawing from the primary main of the 12 months with an harm. He was requested after his spherical Friday how he was sustaining such a excessive degree of play regardless of in all probability taking part in much less aggressive golf than he is ever performed in his life (Johnson has performed simply six instances for the reason that PGA Championship in Might).

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“Proper now I really feel like I obtained my swing in a pleasant groove,” he mentioned. “For me, so long as I hit a pair balls each different day then I can hold it there. Proper now, I am simply swinging very well. Luckily, I am holding it going.”

Along with Johnson’s rating, the 4 Aces additionally counted Talor Gooch’s 2-under quantity and lead the Punch GC squad — which counted Cam Smith’s -6 and Matt Jones’ -4 — by a single stroke going into the second spherical.

And if it is Johnson who’s the most well liked LIV participant going proper now, it is Smith who has been one of the best LIV participant all 12 months, albeit totally on the PGA Tour and within the main championships. After profitable the Match of Champions, Gamers Championship and Open Championship on the Outdated Course in July, Smith moved over to LIV Golf and completed T4 in his first occasion in Boston behind D.J. and two different gamers.

Whereas Smith does not have the gorgeous sport of Johnson in terms of ball-striking, he is been a greater scorer all through your entire 12 months. Whether or not that is sufficient to beat a three-stroke deficit and the machine-like ball-striking efficiency D.J. has been placing on of late stays to be seen, however Smith has his Punch GC squad in place to finish the mini-run the 4 Aces have been on and get his first post-PGA Tour victory at Wealthy Harvest Farms this weekend.

No matter what you concentrate on LIV, the PGA Tour or the continued feud between the 2, we are able to all agree {that a} Smith-Johnson battle over the weekend can be a delight. The towering, easy sport of a two-time main champion in Johnson dealing with off in opposition to the largest “he is obtained that canine in him” participant alive right this moment in Smith. A battle for the ages within the fifth LIV occasion of the 12 months? In all probability not, however the golf ought to nonetheless be nice.

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1. Dustin Johnson: -9
2. Cam Smith: -6
3. Matthew Wolff: -5
T4. Charles Howell III: -4
T4. Matt Jones: -4
T4. Henrik Stenson: -4
T4. Lee Westwood: -4

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