In the headliner match on day one of the LIV Golf Team Championship, Cameron Smith finished 1 over Phil Mickelson to help Punch GC overtake Hy Flyers GC in Friday’s quarter-finals.
The Tag Team Championship format sees the top four teams automatically advance to Saturday’s semi-finals, while teams five through 12 played each other on the opening day.
With teams of four, this meant there would be two rounds of head-to-head match play, as well as a two-on-two foursome played with alternating shooting rules, the team that wins two out of three will making in advance.
For Punch GC, Smith was paired with Mickelson, and they went to the 18th hole evenly, before Mickelson left the door open with a bogey to end his round, allowing Smith to secure a victory for his team with a by.
Smith’s Aussie teammate Marc Leishman picked up a much more dominant victory, carving his way to a 4-for-7 lead through seven holes on his way to a 4-and-2 win over JJ Wolf. Hy Flyers recovered a point despite being eliminated, with the duo of Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale beating Wade Ormsby and Matt Jones 3 and 2.
It was a clear three-nil sweep for Majesticks GC, with Ian Poulter beating Kevin Na 4&2, Lee Westwood beating Sihwan Kim 4&3, and Sam Horsfield’s side with Henrik Stenson picking up a 4&2 win over Saddom. Kaewkanjana and Phachara Khongwatmai.
For Smash GC, it was Chase who came through for the Koepka Clan as Brooks Koepka fell convincingly in a 4 and 3 loss to Harold Varner III of Niblicks GC.
But Smash GC will advance to the semis after Chase Koepka and Jason Kokrak beat Turk Petit and Hudson Swafford 2&1, while Peter Uihlein hammered James Piot 5&3.
In the last quarter-final, Cleeks GC booked their semi-final match against Dustin Johnson and the top-seeded 4 Aces GC after picking up two out of three wins against Torque GC.
Joaquinn Niemann did everything he could for Torque GC, overtaking Shergo Al Kurdi 5 and 3 after Al Kurdi replaced Cleeks GC captain Martin Kaymer, who retired late.
But Laurie Canter kept her side with a narrow 1 win over Jediah Morgan, before Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland put Torque GC through to the next round with a 2 win over Scott Vincent and Adrian Otaegui.
The remaining eight teams will face off in the same format in the semi-finals, with Cameron Smith against Fireballs GC captain Sergio Garcia making up the main event.