Gooch shoots 62 again, Leads by 10; Rangegoats take team lead

GRANGE, Australia – After shooting his second consecutive 10-under 62, Talor Gooch will enter Sunday’s final round of LIV Golf Adelaide with a 10-shot advantage. Unless something unexpected happens, he’ll likely be holding the individual trophy at the end of the day.

But thanks to LIV Golf’s team competition, drama still remains at The Grange Golf Club. Gooch’s RangeGoats GC are just three shots ahead of Stinger GC in the team competition, and seven other teams are within 11 shots of third-place 4Aces GC.

The motivation to capture the first team win for Bubba Watson’s RangeGoats will be a key factor for the leader.

“It’s going to drive me even more to be aggressive and to go and put a good round up – not just coast to a win,” Gooch said. “We can’t just coast to a win as a team tomorrow, so we’ve got to go play some really good golf. …

“We want to be on that podium really bad. I can’t wait to spray Bubba straight in the face with champagne, so I’m hoping we can get it done.”

Gooch has certainly got it done through the first 36 holes this week. His 20 under total is the lowest score any LIV Golfer has reached after any round, and his 10-shot lead doubles the previous best 36-hole lead.

The numbers are unprecedented in LIV Golf’s young history, as well as Gooch’s career. Few golf tournaments in any tour have seen such a domination performance as Gooch has crafted through the first two rounds at the par-72 Grange course.

His closest pursuers are at 10 under – Stinger GC Captain Louis Oosthuizen and teammate Charl Schwartzel, 4Aces GC’s Pat Perez, Fireballs GC’s Abraham Ancer and Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka, who won the previous LIV Golf event in Orlando.

“I don’t think anybody is catching him,” Koepka said after his second-round 7-under 65.

“I don’t know if it’s ever happened, especially after two rounds,” added Ancer, who also shot 65. “That’s insane.”

“To shoot 10-unders in a row around the track is sort of unheard of,” said Oosthuizen after his 66.

Gooch has 18 birdies and one eagle and has yet to suffer a bogey this week. He’s only missed three fairways and one green in regulation, leading the field in both those categories.

“Everything is just going my way,” Gooch said. “I’m hitting the ball where I want it to go … A lot of people have asked the last 24 hours, how did you do it, give me the secret basically. It’s like, if I had the secret, we would write that book and everyone would know it.”

The RangeGoats have never produced a podium finish, but now they’re on the verge of hoisting two trophies in Adelaide.

“We’re trying to get that podium for the first time,” Watson said, “but let’s get that podium with a win.”

Round 2 Highlights | LIV Golf Adelaide

TEAM COUNTING SCORES

Here are the standings and counting scores for Saturday’s second round of the team competition at LIV Golf Adelaide. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.

1. RANGEGOATS GC (-36): Talor Gooch 62, Harold Varner III 64, Bubba Watson 67 (Rd. 2 score: -23)

2. STINGER GC (-33): Branden Grace 65, Louis Oosthuizen 66, Charl Schwartzel 66 (Rd. 2 score: -20)

3. 4ACES GC (-29): Dustin Johnson 65, Patrick Reed 65, Pat Perez 67 (Rd. 2 score: -19)

4. HYFLYERS GC (-26): Phil Mickelson 65, Cameron Tringale 65, Brendan Steele 71 (Rd. 2 score: -15)

T5. FIREBALLS GC (-23): Abraham Ancer 65, Carlos Ortiz 66, Sergio Garcia 68 (Rd. 2 score: -17)

T5. CRUSHERS GC (-23): Bryson DeChambeau 65, Anirban Lahiri 66, Charles Howell III 69 (Rd. 2 score: -16)

T7. TORQUE GC (-22): Sebastián Muñoz 65, Mito Pereira 66, David Puig 67 (Rd. 2 score: -18)

T7. CLEEKS GC (-22): Graeme McDowell 69, Bernd Wiesberger 70, Richard Bland 71 (Rd. 2 score: -6)

9. SMASH GC (-19): Brooks Koepka 65, Chase Koepka 70, Jason Kokrak 71 (Rd. 2 score: -10)

10. IRON HEADS GC (-18): Kevin Na 69, Sihwan Kim 71, Danny Lee 71 (Rd. 2 score: -5)

11. MAJESTICKS GC (-15): Henrik Stenson 68, Ian Poulter 69, Lee Westwood 69 (Rd. 2 score: -10)

12. RIPPER GC (-14): Cameron Smith 66, Marc Leishman 69, Jediah Morgan 71 (Rd. 2 score: -10)

RD. 2 NOTES

SMITH VYING FOR PODIUM: Rippers GC Captain Cameron Smith, the biggest star this week, shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday, leaving him at 9 under through two rounds and tied for eighth. He’s only one shot out of second place – but 11 shots behind leader Talor Gooch. “I think he would have to help us out a little bit, which I don’t really wish on anyone, but I’m going to go out there tomorrow and play the same way as I did today,” Smith said.

His all-Australian Rippers are last in the team standings through 36 holes, but the fan support this week is the big thing that Smith will remember. He said the first two days have exceeded his expectations.

“I thought it was going to be really good, the ticket sales, FISHER coming, all that stuff, and it was lining up to be a really good week.” Smith said. “I didn’t think it was going to quite be like this. I think the course being presented how it is, all the players love it. The crowds are so energetic. Probably the most energetic crowd I’ve ever played in.

“I mean, I would go as far as to say this is one of the best events I’ve ever played. I think I’m probably biased a little bit being from Australia, but this is what LIV Golf is about, and this is what we need every week.”

MICKELSON MAKES A MOVE: HyFlyers GC Captain Phil Mickelson continued his hot play, shooting a 7-under 65 to move into a tie for eighth. Mickelson comes off a tie for second at the Masters where he shot the best score in the final round, a 65.

“My game is kind of coming around at the right time,” Mickelson said. “I’ve got this tournament I’m going to try to finish off and play a really good round tomorrow, and then we’re going to go to Singapore and play and then come back to the States and have three weeks in a row with the PGA Championship right in the middle. It’s coming around at the right time, and I’m going to keep working and trying to build on it.”

GOOCH WITH THE LEAD: For the third time in 11 regular-season LIV Golf events, Talor Gooch has at least a share of the 36-hole lead.

He led by one shot last year at LIV Golf Boston, eventually finishing 6th. And he shared the lead with Peter Uihlein in this year’s season-opening event at Mayakoba, eventually finishing tied for 11th. Gooch also shared the 18-hole lead in Boston with Matthew Wolff.

Having a 10-shot lead certainly is completely different from those previous opportunities, but Gooch still is glad to have the experience.

“I know I don’t have to have my best stuff to win,” Gooch said. “Fortunately these first couple days I think I’ve had some of my best stuff. But winning in professional golf, any level on any tour is really, really hard. I think the thing I can take away from those other opportunities is tomorrow is not given. I’ve still got to go play good golf, and not only for myself but especially for the team.”

BIGGEST 36-HOLE LEADS: Talor Gooch’s 10-shot lead is the biggest lead held by any LIV golfer after 36 holes. Eugenio Chacarra had the previous biggest lead at five strokes last year at LIV Golf Bangkok. The young Fireballs GC star eventually won by three shots at 19 under.

RD. 2 STAT LEADERS

Driving distance – Peter Uihlein, 339.5-yard average

Driving accuracy – Cameron Tringale, Sebastián Muñoz,93% (13 of 14)

Greens in regulation – Talor Gooch, Abraham Ancer, Bubba Watson, 100% (18 of 18)

Fewest putts – Harold Varner III, Paul Casey, 24 putts

Most birdies – Dustin Johnson, Branden Grace, 9

Bogey-free rounds – Talor Gooch (62), Abraham Ancer (65), Brooks Koepka (65), Cameron Tringale (65), Anirban Lahiri (66), Mito Pereira (66), Bubba Watson (67)

*Credit Information & Images to www.livgolf.com

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