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Kozuma Shoots 63 To Lead; Torque Tops Team Leaderboard

Jinichiro Kozuma of Iron Heads GC hits his shot from the 12th tee

Jinichiro Kozuma blazed through the first round at LIV Golf Adelaide, carding an impressive bogey-free 9-under 63.

Reflecting on his stellar performance, he humbly attributed his success to his adept putting skills, which helped him navigate through “some troubles here and there.”

Jinichiro Kozuma walks through the tunnel to the 12th tee at LIV Golf Adelaide
© Charles Laberge/LIV Golf

Teammate Danny Lee, visibly surprised by Kozuma’s mention of troubles, couldn’t help but inquire further, “Trouble? What trouble?”

Indeed, Kozuma’s flawless round seemed to suggest otherwise, with the 29-year-old maintaining a commanding lead throughout the day amidst the enthusiastic cheers from the packed crowds at The Grange Golf Club.

Heading into the second round, Kozuma holds a one-shot lead over Lee and Carlos Ortiz from Torque GC.

Notably, Torque GC set the pace for the team leaderboard, posting an impressive 20 under par, the lowest first-round score by any team this season.

Captain Joaquin Niemann, a force to reckon with in the Individual Championship standings, contributed significantly with a solid 67.

For Kozuma, this moment in the spotlight marks a significant milestone in his LIV Golf career.

With his family in attendance for the first time, he felt a deep sense of pride in delivering a standout performance, including a spectacular 40-foot eagle putt.

Looking ahead, Kozuma and Lee are poised to continue their synergy on the course, drawing inspiration from each other’s game.

Their camaraderie, evident during their successful pairing on Friday, promises another day of stellar play.

Meanwhile, players like Ortiz and Pereira showcased their prowess in the all-Torque group, capitalizing on the momentum to propel themselves up the leaderboard.

Despite a slow start to the season for some, their strong showing in Adelaide suggests a resurgence in form.

As the tournament progresses, the focus remains on playing well and enjoying the game, rather than getting bogged down by points and standings.

Lee, recovering from offseason wrist surgery, emphasizes the importance of staying grounded and maintaining a steady approach, while Kozuma savours the present moment, relishing his current position atop the leaderboard.

In a sport where every stroke counts, Kozuma’s remarkable performance serves as a testament to dedication, skill, and the unwavering support of family and teammates.


Standings and counting scores for Friday’s opening round of the team competition at LIV Golf Adelaide.

The three best scores from each team count in the first two rounds while all four scores count in the final round.

The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.

1. TORQUE GC -20 (Ortiz 64, Pereira 65, Niemann 67)

2. IRON HEADS GC -19 (Kozuma 63, Lee 64, Vincent 70)

3. HYFLYERS GC -17 (Ogletree 65, Steele 66, Tringale 68)

4. CRUSHERS GC -16 (Lahiri 65, Casey 67, DeChambeau 68)

5. RIPPER GC -15 (Jones 66, Leishman 67, Smith 68)

T6. RANGEGOATS GC -12 (Uihlein 65, Pieters 69, Watson 70)

T6. STINGER GC -12 (Burmester 67, Oosthuizen 68, Schwartzel 69)

8. LEGION XIII -11 (Rahm 67, Surratt 68, Hatton 70)

T9. 4ACES GC -8 (Reed 67, Perez 69, Varner III 72)

T9. CLEEKS GC -8 (Bland 68, Samooja 69, Kaymer 71)

11. FIREBALLS GC -4 (Ancer 69, Garcia 71, Puig 72)

T12. SMASH GC -3 (Gooch 68, Koepka 70, Kokrak 75)

T12. MAJESTICKS GC -3 (Westwood 70, Horsfield 71, Poulter 72)


Driving accuracy: Anirban Lahiri, 92.86.% (13 of 14 fairways hit)

Driving distance: Lucas Herbert, 323.0 yards avg.

Longest drive: David Puig, 338.3 yards, 17th hole

Greens in regulation: Danny Lee, Dean Burmester, Marc Leishman, Paul Casey, Cameron Tringale, Brooks Koepka, Matthew Wolff, 88.89% (16 of 18 greens)

Scrambling: Cameron Smith (5 of 5), Jinichiro Kozuma (4 of 4), Mito Pereira (3 of 3), Anirban Lahiri (3 of 3), Marc Leishman (2 of 2), Paul Casey (2 of 2), Brooks Koepka (2 of 2), 100%

Putting: Joaquin Niemann, 1.22 putts per hole

Bogey-free rounds: Jinichiro Kozuma (63), Mito Pereira (65), Anirban Lahiri (65), Marc Leishman (67), Cameron Smith (68)