Saudi International: LIV golfer Abraham Ancer sets early pace as Cameron Young starts strongly | Golf News
Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Cameron Young are two behind early leader Abraham Ancer in Saudi Arabia; Asian Tour season opener contains the majority of players expected to compete in the LIV Golf League this season
Last Updated: 02/02/23 3:04pm
Abraham Ancer carded a bogey-free 63 to set the early pace at the PIF Saudi International, where Sebastian Munoz also started strongly.
The Mexican carded seven birdies in his opening round at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club to top the leaderboard ahead of Presidents Cup player Munoz, strongly linked with the LIV Golf circuit, who carded a blemish-free 64.
Ancer started on the 10th and made four birdies on the back nine, including three in a row form the 13th, then made three in a four-hole stretch after the turn to set the clubhouse target.
“Obviously very happy,” Ancer said. “I felt like I was in control for the most part of the golf ball. Took advantage at the beginning where there was very little wind. On the turn it [the wind] started pumping pretty good. Once it starts getting that way, you try to hold on, and being able to make a couple of birdies coming in was definitely nice.”
Munoz made six birdies in his bogey-free start, while PGA Tour member Cameron Young is two back in tied-third alongside LIV Golf members Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen. Young and Garcia both mixed six birdies with a lone bogey, as Oosthuizen made a bogey-free start in his opening event of the year.
“Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect,” Munoz said. “Never been here. Never seen photos of it. It’s beautiful. I liked it. The set-up was nice, and the course was good.”
Sadom Kaewkanjana and Ian Snyman were the pick of the players starting at the opening hole, joining Scott Vincent in posting a four-under 68, with last week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic runner-up Patrick Reed four off the pace in the group on three under, also including Sam Horsfield and Richard Bland.
A final-hole, hole-out eagle saw Lee Westwood open with a two-under 68 and Brooks Koepka – playing alongside Ancer – joined defending champion Harold Varner III in starting the week with a one-under 69, while Open champion Cameron Smith struggled to a three-over 73.
Two-time Saudi International winner Dustin Johnson withdrew ahead of the first round of the Asian Tour’s season opener, citing a back injury.