Harold Varner III uses two eagles to lead at LIV DC with PGA champion Brooks Koepka equal | Golf News
Harold Varner III took a two-legged lead after the first round at LIV DC in Washington; PGA champion Brooks Koepka tied after opening 72; defending Open champion Cameron Smith tied for third out of four; Varner looks for first LIV win and first win since February 2022
Last Updated: 5/27/23 12:19 am
Harold Varner III hit two eagles on his way to 8 under 64 at Trump National Golf Club in Washington, DC, to lead the first round in the latest LIV Golf event.
Varner is two points ahead of James Piot (6 under 66), with a tie for third with 4 under 68 including Cameron Smith of Australia, Mito Pereira of Chile, Kevin Na and Andy Ogletree.
Varner opened his round with a ghost on the par-three fourth hole but quickly eliminated it. After a birdie put him back in even numbers, he hit an eagle double on the 317-yard, par-fourth hole.
His second eagle came four holes later on the 13th par-5. He followed that with two birdies in a four-under three-hole run. He picked up a birdie in the last two innings (numbers 18 and 3) to set the pace.
Varner, 32, is looking for his first win on the Saudi-sponsored LIV circuit. He has had a good career so far and is 29th in both The Masters and PGA Championship this season, but his most recent win was in February 2022 at Saudi International during his Asia tour.
Piot and Ogletree are former US Amateur champions among young professional athletes hoping to make their mark on the PGA Tour’s emerging rivalries. Piot has seven birdies and one bogey on Friday, while Ogletree has five birdies and one bogey.
Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed are among the names tied at three under 69, while Spain’s Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia, among others, shoot two under 70.
Brooks Koepka, winning his fifth major title of his career Sunday at the PGA Championship, opened with an even score of 72.
Phil Mickelson came in at 44th after opening two out of 74.
Varner’s RangeGoats GC drew with Iron Heads GC to take the lead in the under-10 team competition. Varner, Talor Gooch (70) and Thomas Pieters (72) of Belgium were scored for RangeGoats, while Iron Heads were energized by captain Na, Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe (69) and Danny Lee of New Zealand (69).