At eight under, Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz hold a two-shot advantage over South Africa’s Branden Grace through 36 holes; LIV events feature 48 players, they last just three rounds and have no cuts; players’ scores count towards a team competition too
Last Updated: 02/07/22 9:46am
Dustin Johnson shot a four-under 68 to tie Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz for the lead
after the second round of the LIV Golf Invitational Portland on Friday.
At eight under (136) Johnson and Ortiz hold a two-shot advantage over South Africa’s Branden Grace through 36 holes.
Ortiz led Johnson by a stroke after the first round and posted a 69 on Friday to set up a tussle in the final round at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Justin Harding is a shot back at five under, while Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed are among a group of five players at four under.
LIV events feature 48 players, they last just three rounds and have no cuts. Portland marks the league’s second tournament and a LIV debut for players including Ortiz, Koepka, Reed and Bryson DeChambeau.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel won the LIV opener in mid-June.
Johnson particularly delivered during a six-hole stretch when he posted five birdies and one bogey en route to shooting his second consecutive four-under 68.
“Obviously it’s a big tournament, playing against a lot of great players, and if you want to win, you’re going to have to play really well,” Johnson said after.
“I’m always nervous on the first tee, no matter what event I’m playing in, just because it means something to me and I want to do well.
“I’ve never played out here, especially as a pro. I’ve played down in Bend in college a couple times, so a lot of these fans, they haven’t seen any of the pros really play, especially not in their area. Obviously they’re excited to be out here.”
Ortiz and Johnson were in the same group on Friday. Ortiz held his own with a three-under 69 that included a long birdie putt on the final hole to gain a share of the lead.
“He was playing great,” Ortiz said of Johnson. “I don’t know why, but when somebody is playing good in your group, it’s easy for everybody else to start catching up.”
There is also a team aspect to this LIV event, with players grouped in four-man teams. The best two scores from the first round, the best two scores from round two, and the best three scores in the final round combine to produce the team score.
Johnson’s squad, 4 Aces GC – which contains Patrick Reed, Pat Perez and Talor Gooch alongside Johnson – grew its lead to four strokes at 15 under after the second round.
Stinger GC, an all-South African group consisting of Grace, Hennie du Plessis, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, are in second at 11 under.
The total team prize money is $5m, with the winning team dividing $3m, second place dividing $1.5m and third place dividing $500,000 among its four team members.