Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau each shot 8-under 62s to share the lead at LIV Golf Las Vegas, with fellow major champion Jon Rahm two strokes back with a day remaining.
In the shadow of the Super Bowl, Johnson and DeChambeau reached 11 under at Las Vegas Country Club on another chilly day.
Rahm enjoyed a 63 to join Peter Uihlein (65) and Matthew Wolff (66) on nine under.
“Just really solid,” Johnson said. “Drove it really well. Hit a lot of nice iron shots. Gave myself a lot of looks at birdie. A couple times I got out of position, I was able to make a nice up-and-down.”
Talor Gooch (66) and Jason Kokrak (67) were eight under while Paul Casey, tied with Harold Varner III for the first-round lead after a 63, had a 70 to drop into a tie for eighth at seven under with Bubba Watson (68), Cameron Smith (66) and Laurie Canter (64).
In the team competition, Johnson’s 4Aces were tied for the lead at 26 under with a RangeGoats team featuring Uihlein, Wolff and Watson. DeChambeau’s Crushers were two strokes back with a round left.
DeChambeau had nine birdies and a bogey. After a bogey on the par-3 12th, he birdied the next three.
“Very pleased with the way I played,” DeChambeau said. “Wedging felt a little off. I putted well and drove it pretty well for the most part and just got to tidy up some things for tomorrow.”
Rahm also enjoyed a bogey-free round, saying: “It was a very good day, very organised day, I would say. “I drove it really well. When you have a traditional golf course like this one, it might not be the longest, but it is pretty narrow. If you can put those drives in the fairway, you’re definitely going to give yourself a few birdie chances, like I feel like I did today.”
The Masters champion tied for third last week in the season-opening event in Mexico, finishing two strokes out of a playoff that Joaquin Niemann won on the fourth hole of a playoff with Sergio Garcia.
This week’s LIV Golf action will finish on Saturday to avoid clashing with the Super Bowl, taking place in the same city on Sunday. Watch Super Bowl LVIII from Las Vegas live on Sky Sports on Sunday February 11, with build-up from 10pm ahead of kick-off at 11.30pm; Stream the NFL and more with NOW.