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LIV Golf’s $100 Million Acquisition Cameron Smith Takes a Two Shot Lead in Chicago

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LIV Golf’s $100 million asset Cameron Smith takes a two-shot lead on final day in Chicago as world No. 3 looks to hold off Dustin Johnson in his second event of the Saudi-backed Tour

  • Cam Smith is only playing in his second LIV event since signing a major contract
  • He took the lead two shots ahead of Dustin Johnson with the last lap to go
  • The world’s number three traded the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed series last month

Cameron Smith made some 2-foot birdie putts to close out his round of 4-under 68 and allow him to overtake Dustin Johnson going into the third and final day of the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago.

As easy as Johnson made it seem in the opening round, Saturday at Rich Harvest Farms was such a struggle that he shot over par for the first time in the 14 rounds he played in the Saudi-funded series.

Johnson was lucky to be only two shots behind Smith. He came well below the green on the par-4 17th and had to make an 8-foot par putt, while Smith took the lead for the first time with his 7-foot birdie putt.

Cameron Smith made a couple of 2-meter birdie putts to round off his 4-under 68 round. to close

He caught up with Dustin Johnson going into the third and final day of LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago

He caught up with Dustin Johnson going into the third and final day of LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago

On their final hole on the 18th par-5, Johnson’s approach took a hard jump over the green. After freefalling from the stands, he chipped weakly to 8 feet and missed his birdie putt. Smith was on the other side of the green, trailing a 60-footer to 7 feet and making that hole for another birdie.

Smith was at 10-under 134.

They will be joined in the leading group on Sunday by Peter Uihlein, the former US amateur champion who had the low round of the windy day with a 66. That left Uihlein just three shots on the final day.

Laurie Canter (68) and Charl Schwartzel (69), who won the first LIV Golf Invitational outside London, were four shots behind. The group five back included Lee Westwood, Charles Howell III and Bryson DeChambeau.

Smith won the British Open at St Andrews, earning $2.5 million. A win on Sunday would be worth at least $4 million.

“It was tough out there today,” Smith said. “I’ve had a few breaks and DJ wasn’t quite making the putts he normally does.”

Smith putt on the 13th green during the second round of his second LIV Tour event Saturday

Smith putt on the 13th green during the second round of his second LIV Tour event Saturday

Phil Mickelson looked like he could get a round under par until he made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch and shot 74 to leave 12 shots.

Mickelson spoke Friday about the need for the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to work together. The PGA Tour has suspended players from playing in the Saudi-backed series without getting a conflicting event release.

Mickelson is one of seven players – along with LIV Golf – who have filed an antitrust suit against the PGA Tour.

“The PGA Tour has had the best players in the world for the past 20 or 30 years. That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay, and this kind of divisive talk does no one any good,” Mickelson said. ‘The best solution is for us to come together.

“I think both are necessary for the game of golf. Both are good for the game of golf. The incorporation of LIV Golf into the ecosystem of the golf world is imperative,” said Mickelson, lead recruiter in the early stages of LIV Golf. “Once that happens and we all start working together, it will be very positive for everyone.”

In the team competition, Johnson’s four-man squad had a one-time lead over Smith’s team, and Uihlein’s great round helped his team – Brooks Koepka is captain – leave two shots.

Phil Mickelson has urged the PGA Tour to collaborate more with LIV Golf in the future

Phil Mickelson has urged the PGA Tour to collaborate more with LIV Golf in the future

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