News and notes: Louis goes low in London in Round 2

Cameron Smith and his Ripper teammates are in the driver’s seat going into the final round at LIV Golf London. But there were plenty more news and notes from Saturday at the Centurion Club.

LOUIS GOES LOW: Stingers GC Captain Louis Oosthuizen knows a thing or two about breaking 60. After all, he famously shot 57 in his home course at Mossel Bay in South Africa.

So, when he got off to a hot start Saturday with five birdies and an eagle in his first 10 holes, he started to think that it was one of those days where anything is possible.

“I felt like I was hitting it good enough to genuinely have a birdie on every hole to have a chance,” Oosthuizen said.

But he missed a short birdie putt at the 17th hole (his 13th of the day) and failed to convert an opportunity at the par-5 18th. Then on the difficult par-4 first, a gust of wind impacted his approach shot, and he couldn’t recover.

“Just lost concentration really on my third shot and made bogey,” said Oosthuizen, who carded an 8-under 63 that matched Smith’s first-round score. “Probably could have gotten a few more shots out of it, but I played solid golf. I can’t complain.”

MIXED RESULTS FOR RIPPERS: Ripper GC teammates Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman played in the same group Saturday, along with the RangeGoats GC’s Thomas Pieters. It’s a threesome that will be repeated in the leaders group for Sunday’s final round.

Although Smith increased his individual lead from one to three shots after his 67 on Saturday, and Leishman remains as one of his closest pursuers, the two Aussies didn’t exactly feed off each other.

“Geez, we’re probably both a little bit scratchy today,” Smith said. “I can’t really talk for Marc. But I know myself, it was a good day of grinding. I really stuck in there today. But probably a little bit of work to do on the range.”

Added Leishman: “Yeah, there was good and bad. A couple of bogeys there in the middle of the round and a little putt I missed there on 18, which always leaves a sour taste in your mouth. … I think I’ve got steam coming out of my ears. A bit frustrated after that 18th hole.”

PIETERS RALLIES: Thomas Pieters started his round with a double bogey on the par-4 first and then suffered another bogey at the par-4 seventh. But from there, he played bogey-free golf, producing five birdies and an eagle for a 4-under 67 that keeps him in contention for his first individual title since joining LIV Golf in the offseason.

“I didn’t think I had my best today,” Pieters said. “I had a really good back nine, but I was just off, like a little bit. I’m right there. It was nice to see some putts drop in at the end.”

REED LURKING: Although Patrick Reed has enjoyed plenty of team success as a key contributor for his 4Aces GC, he’s still searching for his first individual title. A bogey-free 7-under 64 on Saturday has him at 8 under and just four shots off the pace set by Cameron Smith.

Reed has been extremely productive in the final rounds since joining LIV Golf a year ago, but his slow starts have forced him to play catch up on the weekend.

“I’ve done a fine job of that on Saturdays and Sundays,” Reed said. “The problem is starting that far back with these types of fields, these types of guys, you run out of holes.

“I think that’s the biggest thing about what’s awesome about LIV and also the frustrating thing. Because it’s only 54 holes, if you get off to a slow start, you really have to put down the pedal and fly around the golf course.”

EAGLES AT 15: The 510-yard par-5 15th has played as the easiest hole through the first two rounds at Centurion Club, with a stroke average of 4.135. That’s a lower average than six of the par 4 holes. It’s easily explainable – the 15th has yielded 13 eagles along with its 60 birdies this week (against just 20 pars and 3 bogeys).

TOUGH GOING FOR TORQUE: Joaquin Niemann’s Torque GC entered LIV Golf London as the league’s hottest team, having won the previous two events and three of the first eight tournaments this season.

But Centurion Club doesn’t seem to be their cup of tea. Torque is in last place through 36 holes at 7 under – with all of their scoring coming on Saturday after the Spanish-speaking lineup shot even par in the first round. David Puig shot the team’s low second round with a 68.

Click here for a full second-round recap from LIV Golf London.


Driving distance – Dean Burmester, 345.8-yard average

Longest drive – Bubba Watson, 369.4 yards (18th hole)

Driving accuracy – Abraham Ancer, 92% (12 of 13)

Greens in regulation – Brooks Koepka, 100% (18 of 18)

Scrambling – Patrick Reed (7 of 7), Henrik Stenson (4 of 4), Abraham Ancer (3 of 3), Carlos Ortiz (3 of 3), 100%

Fewest putts – Patrick Reed, 23 putts

Most birdies – Kevin Na, Chase Koepka, 8

Bogey-free rounds – Patrick Reed (64), Henrik Stenson (66), Brooks Koepka (66)

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