The first day of LIV Golf is officially in the books. The 48-player field wrapped up its play just about five hours after the tour’s shotgun start. And at the end of the day, two South Africans are standing on top of the leaderboard.
Charl Schwartzel, the winner of the 2011 Masters, shot 5 under par at Centurion Golf Club on Thursday. He started slowly but gradually crept up the leaderboard, eventually finishing the day with a one-stroke lead over his countryman Hennie Du Plessis. Phachara Khongwatmai, who led for a majority of the day, finished at 3 under par and tied for third place.
While some of the lesser-known players landed atop the leaderboard on Thursday, the two biggest stars of the tournament were among the handful of players to finish under par. Both Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson dropped their scores to 1 under par by the end of the day despite both enduring difficulties on the course.
MORE: Follow for live LIV Golf updates from Round 2
Mickelson was the more consistent of the two golfers. He had a couple of wayward drives and wasn’t sharp with his putter early, but as the day went on, he played better and better. As such, he is just four strokes off the lead and is one of the tour’s nine players under par.
Johnson is as well, and while he carded the same score as Mickelson, he was a bit less consistent. His driver was hit-or-miss on the day and he had a couple of uninspiring approach shots. Still, he battled to get under par late and is positioned to make a run toward the top of the leaderboard on Friday and Saturday.
Neither Mickelson nor Johnson was the best scorer of their three-person grouping. That was Scott Vincent, who finished 3 under and tied for third with Khongwatmai.
The Sporting News tracked Round 1 of the LIV Golf London event. Below are the highlights from the action as well as the results for Mickelson and Johnson.
MORE: Phil Mickelson explains why he entered LIV Golf, broke from PGA Tour
Charl Schwartzel is the leader of LIV Golf London after Round 1. He is one of nine players under par, all of whom are listed below.
MORE: What the “LIV” in LIV Golf stands for, explained
(All times Eastern)
2:03 p.m. — Charl Schwartzel finishes the day with a birdie to give him the outright lead at 5 under par. He leads Hennie Du Plessis by one stroke with play completed at Centurion Golf Club.
1:53 p.m. — Mickelson positioned himself to save par despite his wayward tee shot on 18. He finishes the day at 1 under par as well.
1:52 p.m. — Dustin Johnson had a long chance at eagle on his final hole of the day, the 18th. While he didn’t sink it, he managed to get the ball close enough to the cup for an easy birdie. That will put him under par for the tournament.
1:50 p.m. — Charl Schwartzel has bogeyed on his second to last hole. He and his South African countryman Hennie Du Plessis are now tied for first place at 4 under as a result.
1:48 p.m. — Khongwatmai’s day is done after a bogey on the difficult ninth hole. He finishes at 3 under par and is in third place, at the moment.
1:40 p.m. — Phil Mickelson’s tee shot on the Par 5 18th launched into the rough. He’ll need to hope that he avoided the fescue if he wants to get a birdie or have an easy shot to stay under par.
1:36 p.m. — The scores are dropping atop the leaderboard as the day continues. Hennie Du Plessis birdies to push himself to 4 under and into a tie with Khongwatmai in second place. There are still just eight players under par, but those that are have built solid-looking leads.
1:31 p.m. — We have a new leader! Charl Schwartzel eagles the 18th hole and goes from 3 to 5 under. He is one stroke ahead of Khongwatmai.
1:30 p.m. — Mickelson just launched a beautiful tee shot into the 138-yard Par 3 17th hole. He will have a good look at birdie putt while Dustin Johnson, who is at even par, is a bit further from the hole.
1:28 p.m. — Most golfers are on to their final one or two holes of the day. Will Khongwatmai be the leader for virtually all of the first day? He’ll look to finish at least a stroke ahead of Charl Schwartzel and Hennie Du Plessis.
1:24 p.m. — Khongwatmai is still at 4 under par with a hole and a half to go. He is positioned well on the penultimate hole but will have a tough test on the ninth to finish the day.
1:10 p.m. — Phil Mickelson has officially gotten under par. He’s at 1 under and is now three shots off Khongwatmai’s lead.
12:54 p.m. — Phachara Khongwatmai has reopened a two-shot lead. The trio of South Africans behind him on the leaderboard have dropped to 2 under so Khongwatmai’s 4 under is pacing the field. He has played very consistently during the first LIV Golf event.
12:50 p.m. — Mickelson misses a third consecutive birdie by about an inch, as his putt on a Par 3 curves around the hole. He is looking to get under par before the first day of action closes.
12:44 p.m. — Jinichiro Kozuma has moved under par. He is now at 1 under as a light drizzle begins to fall at Centurion Golf Club.
12:40 p.m. — All of a sudden, Phil Mickelson is starting to get going. He makes another birdie after a solid two-putt Par 5. He has five holes left to play but is back at even par after back-to-back birdies.
12:39 p.m. — Charl Schwartzel very nearly hit in an eagle from off the green to tie for the lead. Instead, he’ll have a chance for a fairly simple birdie. Meanwhile, his fellow South African, Hennie Du Plessis, just missed a birdie putt to move into a tie for the lead.
12:34 p.m. — Dustin Johnson landed a shot in a green-side bunker and it is buried at an awkward angle. Johnson spent quite a while figuring out his stance for his third shot on the Par-5 13th hole and finally managed to punch it out onto the edge of the green. He’ll have a long birdie putt but should be positioned for an impressive par save, bare minimum.
Never skip leg day 🦵
Flex your viewing muscles 👉 https://t.co/9hX4ytVZZa#LIVGolf | @DJohnsonPGA pic.twitter.com/vZiqnydIDi
12:27 p.m. — Sam Horsfield is starting to heat up as the day winds down. He made a birdie to get to minus two after hitting one of the easiest eagles of the day earlier on. He is now tied for fourth with Charl Schwartzel.
12:19 p.m. — Phil Mickelson hasn’t had his best day with the putter, but he just made a birdie to get to 1 over par. He should soon have a chance to make it back to even par.
Birdie. On. Point. 🎯#LIVGolf | @PhilMickelson
12:15 p.m. — Khongwatmai came up short on a birdie putt by inches. He has a tap-in par and will remain in the lead by one stroke over Du Plessis, who also came up inches short on a potential tournament-tying birdie putt.
12:12 p.m. — With Charl Schwartzel now moving into a tie for third place, Stingers GC has three of the top four golfers on the course for its first day. The all-South African team is leading the team competition as a result.
12:03 p.m. — Wade Ormsby very nearly holed out for an albatross on a par five, but the ball grazed the cup and rolled out. Instead, he had a tap-in eagle and is working his way back into contention.
Almost albatross glory 📏#PUNCHGC captain @wadeormsby going pin hunting #LIVGolf pic.twitter.com/7cN6b6JvTO
12:02 p.m. — Only seven players are under par for the day. There are plenty of others at even par, but the field is tightly bunched together. Scott Vincent is back to even par after a nice putt.
11:56 a.m. — Sam Horsfield made a nifty eagle after reaching the green in two that has dropped him to 1 under par. He is now tied for fifth place.
11:55 a.m. — As we tick closer to noon ET, Khongwatmai has climbed back into the lead. He is at 4 under par on the first day of the three-day tournament.
11:52 a.m. — Dustin Johnson followed up Vincent’s near-make from off-the-green with an actual make from off the green. He is back to even par while Mickelson remains at 2 over par.
DJ doing DJ things 👏#LIVGolf | @DJohnsonPGA pic.twitter.com/5bBPVoiB9b
11:50 a.m. — Scott Vincent very nearly made a nice putt from off the green. It just darted right at the last second, however, so he will not be able to drop a stroke.
11:44 a.m. — Khongwatmai is playing the front nine now, which is believed to be the harder nine on the field. We’ll see if that impacts his standing atop the field.
11:42 a.m. — We are officially halfway through the first day of the LIV Golf event. Phachara Khongwatmai and Hennie Du Plessis are tied for the lead at 3 under par, but there are plenty of players in the hunt for a top-10 position.
11:38 a.m. — Mickelson is moving in the wrong direction. He notches a double bogey on the Par 4 ninth which seems to be the toughest on the course. He is now at 2 over par for the tournament while Dustin Johnson is at 1 over.
11:34 a.m. — Kevin Yuan very nearly holed out an eagle on a Par 5. He shot the ball over the hole and got it to spin back. It grazed the side of the cup before continuing down the green.
Kevin Yuan part ✌️#LIVGolf
11:33 a.m. — Mickelson’s third shot on the Par-4 ninth wasn’t good. It hit the green, but it spun back off it. He’ll have a tough time making par on this hole as a result.
11:30 a.m. — Speaking of Vincent, he just hit a beautiful shot out of some thick rough and got the ball on the green. It was one of the best shots of the day so far, and he should have no trouble making par if he can’t birdie.
11:29 a.m. — A cool thing about ths tournament: some of the caddies and golfers are mic’d up. Here’s a look at how Scott Vincent and his caddie trying to properly read a longer putt on the green.
Closer to the game than ever before. 👂🎤
Scott Vincent on the mic…#LIVGolf pic.twitter.com/glq8FrJB7m
11:25 a.m. — Both Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are in the fairway at the difficult ninth hole. Will they be able to make a movie to challenge Du Plessis and Khongwatmai atop the leaderboard?
11:19 a.m. — There’s a birdie for Mickelson! He makes a medium-length birdie putt after getting close to the pin on the Par 4. He’s back to even and three shots off the lead.
11:14 a.m. — Mickelson continues to hit his wedges well, he hit one that landed right by the flagstick. He just couldn’t get enough backspin on it to draw it within a few feet of the hole. Still, Mickelson has a solid birdie chance after landing on the green.
11:10 a.m. — Kevin Yuan had a beautiful shot off the tee at a Par 3. He hit it very close to the hole and should have a chance to punch it in for birdie.
Drafted last. Making first class shots 😏
Kevin Yuan crushing it for DJ’s #4ACESGC#LIVGolf
11:06 a.m. — Chase Koepka and Branden Grace have both moved to 2 under par. They have been under par consistently during the day.
11:01 a.m. — Dustin Johnson’s wayward tee shot cost him. He ends up carding a double-bogey on a Par 4 and will go from 1 under to 1 over for the tournament. Elsewhere, Khongwatmai is now back in first after Du Plessis bogeys a hole to drop to 2 under.
11:00 a.m. — Shaun Norris had a nice chip-in from off the green to get to 1 under par for the tournament. The South African is now safely within the top 10 and just two strokes off the lead.
10:56 a.m. — David Puig, an amateur from Arizona State, is starting to play well. The current college student is now at 2 under par and is in third place. Meanwhile, Khongwatmai has dropped a shot, tying him for first with Du Plessis.
10:51 a.m. — Johnson’s shot did, in fact, go out of bounds. He has hit a provisional that went down the middle of the fairway. He will play that and his next stroke will be counted as his third.
10:49 a.m. — All of a sudden, Hennie Du Plessis has moved just a shot off the lead. The South African is giving Khongwatmai a run at the No. 1 spot. Meanwhile, both Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have missed their tee shots with Johnson’s likely landing out of bounds.
10:46 a.m. — Branden Grace has performed well today. He makes a nice birdie putt to drop his score to 1 under par. He’s now just a few shots off Khongwatmai’s lead.
10:45 a.m. — Here comes Dustin Johnson! He’s starting to heat up and has birdied once again. That puts him at 1 under par for the tournament, good for a tie for third place.
10:41 a.m. — An update on where we’re at in the tournament: the LIV Golf broadcast says that there are 12 holes to play for most players. So, we’re on pace for a five-hour round, as expected.
10:35 a.m. — Phachara Khongwatmai continues to perform well. He has birdies a Par 5 to move to 4 under for the tournament. That gives him a two-stroke lead once again.
10:29 a.m. — Oof. Talor Gooch double bogeys a hole to drop from 2 under to even par. He goes from T-2 in the standings to T-11.
10:27 a.m. — Dustin Johnson has made his first birdie as a part of LIV Golf. That will get him back to even par for the tournament.
10:23 a.m. — Chase Koepka has birdied and is now in a three-way tie for second with Talor Gooch and Laurie Canter. However, Gooch has run into trouble after a wayward shot and will certainly drop a stroke on his latest hole. So, Koepka and Canter will soon be in just a two-way tie for second.
10:19 a.m. — Phil Mickelson has his first non-par score of the day. He has bogeyed and is now at 1 over par.
10:17 a.m. — Chase Koepka, brother of Brooks Koepka, just hit a beautiful second shot into a Par 4 that will set him up for an easy-looking birdie putt. He should have a chance to move to 2 under par.
10:11 a.m. — Laurie Canter is moving up the leaderboard as well. He is at 2 under par and has moved out of the logjam of 1 under golfers now tied for third place.
10:07 a.m. — Phachara Khongwatmai is now at 3 under par. That gives him a two-stroke lead over the other golfers in the event.
10:04 a.m. — Talor Gooch makes a nice little birdie putt. He is now in a tie for second place with 10 other golfers.
10:02 a.m. — Dustin Johnson has hit another wayward tee shot. His curves to the left while Mickelson hits it right up the fairway.
10:01 a.m. — Lee Westwood missed the same tee shot that Mickelson did, hitting it over the green. It looked like a missed club, so he’ll have to see what went wrong with his caddie, his wife Helen.
9:57 a.m. — Dustin Johnson had a long par putt on the third hole and was unable to make it. Johnson bogeys the hole and will now be over par of the tournament.
9:53 a.m. — Mickelson had a really nice recovery after landing deep in the woods. He is now on the green and will have a chance to scramble and save par.
9:51 a.m. — Viraj Madappa bogeyed his first hole and followed it up with an eagle on the next one. He is now under par for the tournament through two holes.
9:48 a.m. — We have a tie atop the leaderboard. Phachara Khongwatmai has made a birdie to tie Peter Uihlein atop the leaderboard.
9:46 a.m. — Ten players are now under par for the tournament as many are finishing their second holes. Peter Uihlein leads the field while Graeme McDowell just missed a putt to tie him at 2 under par.
9:45 a.m. — Oh boy, Mickelson launched his tee shot on the third hole way off the fairway. He’ll now have to play it from the woods and could run into some tree trouble.
9:40 a.m. — Peter Uihlein is off to a hot start. He holed out from a bunker and just made the first eagle in the history of LIV Golf.
First eagle fired 🦅 @PeterUihlein chipping in for #CRUSHERSGC#LIVGolf
9:39 a.m. — And Mickelson misses his putt to the left, the opposite direction that Johnson missed in. He will stay at even par, too.
9:38 a.m. — Dustin Johnson just overcooked a birdie putt. It barely snuck past the hole, so he will likely remain at even par.
9:36 a.m. — Updated on Mickelson’s outfit, you can see the Augusta logo on the bottom right of this picture. Did he dull it a bit with marker? It’s hard to tell.
Here it is. Totally a market colored over it pic.twitter.com/te8WFEi7AQ
9:34 a.m. — Mickelson had another good shot off the tee. He lands on the green at the Par 3 second hole and will have another birdie chance.
9:33 a.m. — Peter Uihlein just holed out a shot from the bunker. It was well played by the captain of Crushers GC.
9:29 a.m. — Speaking of Mickelson, he managed a par on the first hole. His birdie attempt came up short.
9:27 a.m. — Kevin Van Valkenburg has noticed that Phil Mickelson appears to be wearing a Masters vest with the Augusta National Golf Club logo on it. It is blacked out with marker.
Not sure if you can see it but yes, Mickelson is wearing a blacked out Augusta National Golf Club logo vest. It … looks like something maybe done with marker?
(Again, this is not a joke.)
9:25 a.m. — LIV Golf has its first birdie ever. Martin Kaymer sunk a mid-range putt on a Par 5 to take a one-stroke lead on the field.
9:23 a.m. — Phil Mickelson landed his second shot on the green after a massive tee shot. He will have a chance at birdie and if he misses it, he should have a very easy par putt.
9:22 a.m. — Talor Gooch just missed his birdie chance an inch to the left. He will finish with a par as well.
9:21 a.m. — Lee Westwood is the first player to log a score. He has posted a par on the 138-yard Par 3 after coming up just short of a birdie.
9:19 a.m. — Talor Gooch, the 35th-ranked golfer in the world and one of the best in LIV Golf, hit his shot closer to the pin on the second hole than Garcia. He will have a chance to get the first birdie in the history of the start-up tour.
9:17 a.m. — Mickelson has also teed off at the first hole. He hit a big shot down the fairway. Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia landed on the green on the second hole, a Par 3.
9:15 a.m. — We have officially teed off for the first LIV Golf event. Dustin Johnson is on the first hole to start things off, and he hit a beautiful tee shot down the middle of the fairway on one of the course’s toughest holes.
A new era begins 🎬
Stream now 👉 https://t.co/9hX4ytVZZa#LIVGolf | @DJohnsonPGA pic.twitter.com/xt41Vo4uC2
9:13 a.m. — The shotgun start is coming up shortly. All of the players will tee off at the same time and see the same course conditions throughout the day.
9:06 a.m. — The LIV broadcast is now live, and you can click here to watch it. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman is currently on and discussing how happy he is that the new tour was “able to bring free agency to golf.”
8:45 a.m. — LIV Golf released a hype video before today’s tournament narrated by Dennis Quaid. You can check it out below:
Don’t blink.#LIVGolf pic.twitter.com/eqJwbfAgrw
LIV is promoting itself through accessibility. LIV Golf London can be watched through YouTube, Facebook, or the LIV Golf website around the world.
LIV Golf says the tournament “will also be aired live on a global roster of leading premium and free-to-air broadcasters providing coverage in 138 territories around the world.”
Here is the complete broadcast guide by country.
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LIV Golf will not be broadcast on cable TV in the United States, so streaming is the only option.
Viewers in the U.K. can watch coverage on DAZN and Sky.
LIV Golf events will use a shotgun start, in which every player in the field tees off at about the same time from different holes and completes the course in order from there.
Play is expected to begin at 9 a.m. ET each day.
Teams for LIV Golf events are drafted each week by tour-selected captains. Here’s the lineup for the London stop: