Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith, the duel

The first day of LIV Golf Miami, played this Friday in Doral (Florida, USA), had the duel between Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith as the main point of interest, with the Australian obtaining the decisive point to win the match by equipment.

Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith, results

The Koepka brothers’ Smash, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood’s Majesticks, Martin Kaymer’s Cleeks and Cameron Smith’s Punch, who had the best duel of the day against Phil Mickelson’s Hyflyers, qualified for the semifinals.

This last appointment of LIV Golf, a Saudi initiative that intends to compete with the PGA Tour, is the only one that is played exclusively in team match-play format, with four exempt teams on Friday and qualified directly for the semifinals of Saturday.

These four teams released from the first day for having the best classification are the 4Aces of Dustin Johnson, the Fireballs of the Spanish Sergio García, the Crushers of Bryson DeChambeau and the Stinger of Louis Oosthuizen.

The match between Mickelson and Smith was the one that aroused the greatest expectation on the first day and became the best duel in the quarterfinals due to the equality and the emotion that it had until the end. With the points already won by Marc Leishman in the individual and by the pair formed by Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale, everything had to be decided in the duel of captains.

Both leaders, Mickelson and Smith, staged a battle between the most experienced, having done this route up to 68 times, and the Australian debutant in Doral. There was never a great distance in their match and we had to wait until the end to define the winner. Tie on the last hole and precisely there, on the eighth green, the American missed a decisive putt that the Australian took advantage of to close his round with a birdie and add the point that his team needed to score the win.

The surprise of the day came from Harold Varner III, who dominated his match against Brooks Koepka from the first holes. Despite the fact that he completed a sub-par tour of the field, Varner III’s card was excellent with five birdies. However, the Varner III team lost the other two duels. “It’s been very good, I think I did my part, I played well, it was fun, but it didn’t help much,” said the American.

Chilean Joaquín Niemann won his point against Shergo Al Kurdi but his team, the Torques, did not advance to the semifinals. His teammate, the Spanish Adrián Otaegui, was also eliminated with him, who lost in doubles with Scott Vincent.

After the dispute of the first day, the captains of the four surviving teams with the best ranking chose a rival for the semifinals on Saturday. Dustin Johnson chose Martin Kaymer’s team, Bryson DeChambeau opted for Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia for Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka will face the team led by Ian Poulter.

The Fireballs, the Hispanic team formed by Sergio García as captain, his compatriot Eugenio López-Chacarra and the Mexicans Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz, will face this Saturday with the Punch of Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Wade Ormsby.

The tournament distributes 50 million dollars. One million for the teams that have fallen in the first round, three million for those who lose in the semifinals, four million for the fourth-place finisher, six for the third-place finisher, eight for the runner-up and 16 million for the winners. Each member of the champion team will pocket four million dollars on Sunday.

It will be the last appointment of LIV Golf in this 2022 in which Dustin Johnson leads the earnings classification with more than 13.5 million dollars, followed by Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and Peter Uihlein, the three above 7 million.