Valderrama gives a windy welcome to the LIV: Sergio is 7th

Be you, members of LIV Golf, Welcome to the Real Club Valderrama. The Saudi circuit, accustomed in its two short years to holding events on not too demanding courses, began its first tournament this Friday on a truly challenging course. He did it in a complicated day, marked by a strong west wind, with gusts of 20 km / h, and a scorching sun. All eyes were on Sergio García, a great connoisseur of Valderrama (three victories in the Cádiz field), who defied the 32 °C temperature wearing a long sleeve under the polo shirt. The man from Castellón is in the ointment just three shots behind the leading duo: Dustin Johnson and Jason Kokrak (-4).

Sergio shot ex officio, as he himself admitted, on the first day of competition and survived the harsh conditions. Initial round of 70 shots, one under par, with three birdies and two bogeys that left him in seventh place. Very fine in the short game, Borriol’s showed that this is not just another LIV tournament for him. He is in his favorite field (fourteen top-10 in fifteen previous participations), with a crowd that makes him feel that he is the big star of the week, and For this reason, the man from Castellón wants to get his first victory on the Saudi circuit. Also to pocket the four million dollars that the winner receives, of course.

The Spaniard, who played in the stellar game along with a discreet Phil Mickelson (+2) and Harold Varner III (+3), knows Valderrama inside out. Proof of this was his exit at 16 above the trees. And he also knows how to minimize damage. On the 17th hole, the most emblematic of the course and which has given Sergio so much joy (three birdies in 2017, the year he won, for example), his second shot missed the green and ended up in the water around it. He came out of that penultimate hole with par, reason to be happy at the end of his round. “In these conditions it is always good to finish under par. I don’t feel like I played great. I chipped very well, I made a couple of putts. It has been throwing trade. I am happy to see these good numbers next to my name”, said the one from Borriol.

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“I think this wind is the most complicated in the course, it can be eight out of ten in difficulty. But it can be more difficult. Between the hardness of the greens and the wind, it has been challenging”, Sergio analyzed about a course in which there was a good influx of public, many curious to see how the LIV works. “It has been incredible to see the stands, especially so many children. Spanish and other countries. It’s great to see that.” The other two Spaniards in contention did not have their best opening day, and both Eugenio Chacarra like David Puig they delivered a card of 74 shots, three over par.

For many, this Friday was a day of acclimatization to the countryside. “It is a test of patience. It is a complicated field, especially with the wind today”, explained the Australian Cameron Smith, who had never played a tournament on this tour. The reigning British Open champion had a modest start, but warmed up in the final stretch and was placed at two under par. Ahead, only Anirban Lahiri (-3) and the leading pair of Dustin Johnson and Jason Kokrak (-4). The former number one in the world, another that Valderrama did not know either, did not need any period of adaptation: five birdies and a lone bogey to qualify as a candidate for the final loot. Welcome everyone to the (breezy) Real Club Valderrama.

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