KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia — Brooks Koepka played bogey-free for an 8-under 62, building a three-shot lead in LIV Golf-Jeddah as he looks to win on Saudi Arabian soil for the second straight year.
Koepka picked up his first LIV Golf League victory at Royal Greens a year ago. He got off to a quick start by opening with six birdies in eight holes, then adding back-to-back birdies on the back nine.
Koepka, the PGA champion playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup, was at 12-under 128. He led by three shots over Sergio Garcia (63) and Charles Howell III (64), AP reported.
This is the final individual event of the year. Cam Smith, who leads the points list, had to settle for a 68. Talor Gooch had a 64 as he tries to overtake Smith for the points title and the $18 million prize.
LIV Golf concludes its second season next week in Florida with the team championship.
Elsewhere, Lexi Thompson completed her first round with a bogey and a par to finish 2-over-par 73 at the PGA Tour’s Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas.
Thompson, the seventh woman to play on the PGA Tour and first to be invited since 2018, resided in a tie for 94th place heading to the second round at TPC Summerlin.
Beau Hossler, still searching for his first PGA Tour win in his 174th start, held a one-stroke lead after the completion of the first round.
The 28-year-old California native shot a 9-under 62, one stroke ahead of J.T. Poston and Cameron Champ.
Hossler, who totaled eight birdies on the day, finished the front nine on a strong note, notching an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole. He also finished strong, with three birdies on his last four holes, overshadowing his lone bogey on No. 17.
“It was good,” Hossler said. “I felt like I did everything well. I imagine statistically I was probably gaining strokes in every department, which is obviously a good thing for my confidence moving forward.
“Got the ball in play, hit some really nice wedges to close range, which was nice, and took advantage of the par-5s and the drivable hole, which I think out here is kind of the key.”
Poston started on the back nine and wound up with a pair of eagles — on Nos. 15 and 9 — but he also had two bogeys.
“I thought (the course) played pretty tough, pretty breezy around here,” said Poston, who earned the second of his two PGA Tour wins last year. “We just did a good job of kind of keeping the ball in front of us.
“They just told me I only hit six fairways. I felt like I hit more than that or drove it better than that, but I think we just did a good job of keeping it in the right spots and not really getting out of play too many times.”
Champ tallied four birdies and an eagle (No. 9) on the front nine but had just two birdies on the back nine to cap a bogey-free round.
“I just felt in control of really just my head, my emotions, my thoughts,” said Champ, who has three career PGA Tour victories. “It was just kind of a free-spirited round. Drove it well, ironed it well, putted it very well.”
Lanto Griffin and Davis Thompson ended the day tied for fourth at 64. Griffin collected an eagle (No. 15) and seven birdies — including four birdies on his first seven holes. Thompson totaled seven birdies in his bogey-free day, including two on his last three holes.