26 Apr 2024 | Professional golf |

Kozuma leads, Jones lurks after day one at The Grange

by Golf Australia

Matt Jones
Matt Jones salutes a birdie on day one of LIV Adelaide

LIV Golf rookie Jinichiro Kozuma holds top spot after round one at LIV Adelaide after riding a hot putter to a 9-under-par 63 that led a day of low scoring including by some Ripper GC favourites at The Grange in Adelaide.

A two-time winner on the Japanese tour, Kozuma hasn’t finished better than 36th in his rookie LIV season, but he looked anything but an outsider in a bogey-free round that left him one shot ahead of his Iron Heads GC teammate Danny Lee and Carlos Ortiz (Torque GC).

Dual Australian Open champion Matt Jones is the best placed Ripper GC member after shooting a 66 which included a near hole-in-one on the par-3 14th.

Marc Leishman carded a 67 and Cam Smith a 68 as Ripper GC ended day one of the teams competition in fifth position at 15-under, five behind Torque GC.

In his first appearance in the Adelaide event, Lucas Herbert rallied late for a 1-over 73.

Former world No.1 Jon Rahm (Legion XIII) birdied his final two holes to shoot 67, while defending champion Talor Gooch (Smash) posted a 68.


Kozuma was quick out of the blocks, starting with three consecutive birdies on 15-17. An eagle on the par-5 seventh propelled him to 8-under. The last of seven birdies for the day came on the par-5 10th.


Jinichiro Kozuma (63): “Today my putting was really good. It was really hot. I had some troubles here and there, but my putting was there to help me get through pars, and it was all about the putting today.”

Danny Lee (64): “Obviously any kind of golf course, if you start the tournament with an 8-under round, it's very good. There's a lot of birdie holes out there. All these players are going to make a lot of birdies out there. Whatever I was doing today and whatever Jinny was doing today worked out pretty good.”

Carlos Ortiz (64): “I think if the wind stays the way it is, and with the rain we got yesterday, I think it definitely sets up the golf course pretty gettable, especially if you put it in the fairway. It's just one of those golf courses that if you're in good position you can be a bit aggressive, and at the same time if you get just a little bit out of position, it's actually really hard to get back into position.”

Matt Jones (66): “I think we came in a little more relaxed this year. I know last year we all wanted to play well and we didn't, and I think this year we're a little more relaxed and just let the golf course come to us and not try and push anything and just play our game.”

Marc Leishman (67): “It was a really fun day. Something we’ve been looking forward to for 12 months. It was good to get off to a good start. The course was gettable and certainly there were some good scores out there. I changed my course management a little bit this year compared to last year. I was a bit too conservative, I think, and changed that because there are so many birdies out there.”

Jon Rahm (68): “It was a very enjoyable round even though I didn’t have my best. There were plenty of people wanting me to do good.”



63: Jinichiro Kozuma (Iron Heads)

64: Danny Lee (Iron Heads), Carlos Ortiz (Torque)

65: Mito Pereira (Torque), Peter Uihlein (Range Goats), Andy Ogletree (HiFlyers), Anirban Lahiri (Crushers)

66: Matt Jones (Ripper GC), Brendan Steele (HiFlyers)


-20: Torque GC

-19: Iron Heads GC

-17: HyFlyers GC

-16: Crushers GC

-15: Ripper GC


The second round gets underway at 11.45am (AEST) on Saturday

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