Schwartzel remains in command at Centurion Club

Charl Schwartzel holds three-shot lead at nine under over fellow South African Hennie Du Plessis after second of three rounds at opening LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Centurion Club; Phil Mickelson four over following a 75 with Dustin Johnson one under

Last Updated: 10/06/22 8:44pm

Charl Schwartzel is on course for a massive LIV Golf Invitational Series payday on Saturday
Charl Schwartzel is on course for a massive LIV Golf Invitational Series payday on Saturday

South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Hennie Du Plessis lead the chase for the record $4m winners’ cheque after round two of the opening LIV Golf Invitational Series event.

Former Masters champion Schwartzel, who led after Thursday’s opening round, produced another dazzling round to stay top of the leaderboard by three strokes from Du Plessis.

The 37-year-old carded a four-under 66 in breezy conditions in St Albans to stand at nine under with Saturday’s third and final round to come.

Du Plessis, who is on the same four-man team as Schwartzel, shot a 68 to stay firmly in the hunt.

Oliver Bekker made it three South Africans in the top four as he put together a round of 67 to reach three under.

American Peter Uihlein birdied his last hole for a best-of-the-day 66 to move to within five shots of Schwartzel.

After Thursday’s launch was overshadowed by news that the PGA Tour had suspended those taking part in the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit, there was a decent crowd at the course to watch the 48-strong field chase the biggest prize in golf history on Friday, air shows and live music adding to the entertainment.

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Phil Mickelson’s biographer Alan Shipnuck says LIV Golf is a big moment for golf and believes players will eventually get what they want
Phil Mickelson’s biographer Alan Shipnuck says LIV Golf is a big moment for golf and believes players will eventually get what they want

Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson and playing partner Dustin Johnson drew the biggest following, with European Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood also well supported.

Phil Mickelson is out of contention for first place heading into the final round
Phil Mickelson is out of contention for first place heading into the final round

Mickelson, playing his first tournament since February after taking time away from the game in the wake of comments he originally made about the LIV Series, struggled with his putter in a round of five-over 75 to leave him on four over for the tournament.

Johnson fared better, an even-par round leaving him at one-under heading into Saturday.

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Dustin Johnson has admitted he plans to only play golf at major tournaments and the LIV Tour, following his decision to join the Saudi-backed tour
Dustin Johnson has admitted he plans to only play golf at major tournaments and the LIV Tour, following his decision to join the Saudi-backed tour

The LIV Invitational Series, which offers $25m in prize money at each of the eight events, attracted another big name on Friday as American big-hitter Bryson DeChambeau became the latest player to officially jump on the bandwagon.

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Bryson DeChambeau has officially joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series and will play in the second event in Portland which starts later this month
Bryson DeChambeau has officially joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series and will play in the second event in Portland which starts later this month

The events feature a 54-hole format with no cuts and a shotgun start where each group of three begins on a different hole. As well as the individual stroke play competition, 12 teams of four, chosen by captains at a pre-event draft and boasting names such as Stingers and Fireballs, compete for a team prize pot of $5m.

Schwartzel’s Stinger team are out in front on a combined 15 under, seven better than Uillein’s Crushers

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Source : Sky Sports