Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson have risen to the top of the LIV Golf Las Vegas leaderboard with 18 holes to go, and Jon Rahm is lurking just behind them.
DeChambeau and Johnson are tied at 11 under and hold a two-shot lead over Rahm, Matthew Wolff and Peter Uihlein after two rounds at Las Vegas Country Club. Jason Kokrak and Talor Gooch are tied for sixth at 8 under.
DeChambeau went on a late birdie run to shoot an 8-under 62 on Friday. Johnson matched that 62 by birdieing his last three holes, Nos. 15-17, for a bogey-free card.
The captains of Crushers GC and 4Aces GC, respectively, are both major champions with two LIV Golf individual titles to their name.
“Obviously there’s a lot of really good players that are a part of LIV,” Johnson said. “I think each week you see the best players are always in the last groups teeing off on Sunday, or Saturday, I guess, tomorrow.”
LIV is concluding its event on Saturday, the day before Super Bowl LVIII takes center stage in Las Vegas.
DeChambeau opened Friday’s round with a birdie at the par-4 fourth and was 5 under through his first eight holes. After picking up his lone bogey at the par-3 12th, he ran off four more birdies, culminating with his last one of the day at the par-3 16th.
Yet DeChambeau dubbed it “the weirdest 62” he’d ever had.
“Usually when you’re playing well, you’ll finish it off and you’ll shoot 62, even if you make a bogey on the last hole to shoot 62 or whatnot,” DeChambeau said. “But I had five straight holes where they were all gettable, and I was at 8 under par, and I was like, I could easily go 59, 58. If I play perfect golf, it’s 57.”
Johnson cruised around the course and was 5 under for his day when he reached the par-5 15th. His birdie-birdie-birdie finish featured a 2 at No. 16, like DeChambeau.
“Obviously made a really good 2 on 16,” Johnson said. “Then hit a really nice shot in there on 17 to a couple feet to finish the day off. Like I said, I feel like I’m swinging well. If I can get it in the fairway, I feel like I can hit it close to the hole.”
Rahm is in the mix for the second time in two events since joining LIV Golf in the offseason. The Spaniard shot a bogey-free 63 with seven birdies Friday. He tied for third at the season opener in Mayakoba after a bogey-bogey finish to his final round.
Johnson’s 4Aces are tied with RangeGoats GC at 26 under on the team leaderboard, two shots ahead of DeChambeau’s Crushers. Patrick Reed (4-under 66) and Pat Perez (1-under 69) combined with Johnson’s score for 4Aces in the second round. RangeGoats’ team score benefited from Wolff’s 4-under 66 and Uihlein’s 5-under 65, and captain Bubba Watson added a 2-under 68.
Watson is part of a tie for eighth at 7 under with Australia’s Cameron Smith and Englishmen Paul Casey and Laurie Canter. Casey shared the first-round lead with Harold Varner III, but Casey shot an even-par 70, while Varner dropped out of the top 30 after carding four bogeys and no birdies Friday.