Riyadh polo team advances to semi-finals of Chestertons Polo in the Park 2024

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HUMBLE: On LIV Golf Houston’s packed leaderboard, which features a dozen players within three strokes of the lead, only one of them lives close enough to the course to commute from his home near Houston.

Patrick Reed has never won a professional event in front of his home fans, but the 4Aces GC star will have the chance to raise the trophy and celebrate with champagne when he emerges victorious in what promises to be a Texas shootout on Sunday at the Golf Club of Houston.

“Having all this support and also being able to stay home means a lot to me,” Reed said. “Hopefully we can go out there and … put on a show for them tomorrow and hopefully win the trophy.”

First, he must maneuver past a quartet of leaders, two of whom have already achieved success in Houston.

Paul Casey of Crushers GC, Adrian Meronk of Cleeks GC, Carlos Ortiz of Torque GC and David Puig of Fireballs GC are all at 10 under par, with Reed in sole fifth place at 9 under par. Casey won the Houston Open at this course in 2009, while Ortiz won the same tournament in 2020 after it was moved to Memorial Park.

Torque GC captain Joaquin Niemann and RangeGoats GC’s Matthew Wolff are tied for sixth at 8 under par, with five other players at 7 under par. Of those 12 players, only Niemann has won a LIV golf tournament – two victories at the start of the year in Mayakoba and Jeddah.

Fueled by Puig and Abraham Ancer’s 66-under-par shots, the Fireballs lead the team competition at 26 under par, four strokes ahead of Torque. Three teams – Crushers, 4Aces and Cleeks – are a further stroke behind in third place.

Casey, who shot a second consecutive 67 on Saturday, isn’t sure how much his success 15 years ago will affect the final outcome. He is one of five players in the field to have won the Houston Open on this course.

“I know what it takes, but it doesn’t necessarily make it easier,” Casey said. “This has always been a tough test for golfers. … This golf course has grit, and just because I won doesn’t change that.”

Ortiz, who birdied four consecutive holes on Saturday and shot a 68, doesn’t expect to benefit from his experience, but admits that he feels a certain amount of confidence here.

“I like the golf course and the people,” Ortiz said. “I think maybe it’s the confidence. I don’t know, but I’ve been playing really well and I think that’s just reflecting now.”

Meronk was one of three first-round co-leaders, along with his captain Martin Kaymer and young Legion XIII player Caleb Surratt. While those two fell down the leaderboard, Meronk recovered from a rough start that included two bogeys in his first five holes to shoot a 69.

“Played pretty solid,” said Meronk, who joined LIV Golf just before the start of this season. “Could have been a lot worse. Missed a couple of putts down the stretch. But regardless, I’m pretty happy with my round and my position on Sunday.”
Puig, meanwhile, started this week with a medal in 36-hole U.S. Open qualifying in Northern California on Monday, securing a spot in next week’s major. He carried that momentum into Houston, where he started with a 68, then shot a 66 and made five birdies in his final seven holes.

“It definitely gave me confidence,” Puig said of his performance earlier in the week, “and I’m glad it’s paying off.”

Team counts points

Rankings and scores for the second round of the team competition on Saturday at LIV Golf Houston:

1. FIREBALLS GC -26 (Ancer 66, Puig 66, Garcia 70; Rd. 2 Score: -14)

2. TORQUE GC -22 (Ortiz 68, Niemann 97, Muñoz 71; Round 2 result: -8)

T3. CRUSHERS GC -21 (Casey 67, Lahiri 69, Catlin 70; Round 2 result: -10)

T3. 4ACES GC -21 (Perez 68, Reed 68, Johnson 71; Round 2 result: -9)

T3. CLEEKS GC -21 (Meronk 69, Bland 71, Kaymer 72; Rd. 2 Score: -4)

T6. SMASH GC -17 (Kokrak 66, McDowell 68, Gooch 71; Round 2 result: -11)

T6. RIPPER GC -17 (Herbert 68, Smith 69, Jones 74; Result round 2: -5)

8. HYFLYERS GC -13 (Mickelson 69, Tringale 69, Steele 70; Round 2 result: -8)

T9. RANGEGOATS GC -12 (Wolff 67, Pieters 68, Watson 72; Round 2 result: -9)

T9. MAJESTICKS GC -12 (Stenson 70, Poulter 72, Westwood 72; Round 2 result: -2)

T9. LEGION XIII -12 (Hatton 70, Vincent 70, Surratt 76; Round 2 Result: E)

12. IRON HEADS -9 (Lee 72, Na 72, Kozuma 73; Round 2 result: +1)

13. STINGER GC -5 (Burmester 69, Schwartzel 72, Ormsby 73; result round 2: -2)

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