Charles Schwarzel led by three shots ahead of his South African counterpart Hennie du Plessis after the second round on Friday at the first event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club near London.

Schwarzell, the 2011 Masters champion, has 9 fewer after a 4-to-66 card. His teammate “Stinger GC” du Plessis has 6 fewer, followed by American Peter Wayne with 4 fewer and another South African Oliver Becker in 3 less.

Two-time grand winner Dustin Johnson is tied for fifth with 1 less, while six-time grand winner Phil Mickelson is tied for 26th with 4 less, as only eight players are on the field with 48 players below two rounds.

The Saudi-funded golf league is seen as a competitor to the PGA Tour and has drawn criticism for trying to help “sport” Saudi Arabia’s reputation for human rights. Despite controversy, LIV Golf has attracted several high-profile names by offering wallets that far exceed those found in the PGA Tour. The London Invitational wallet is $ 20 million, $ 4 million for first place.

The PGA Tour on Thursday suspended 17 current and former members for attending the event.

Bryson DeChambo, the 2020 US Open champion, confirmed on Friday that he is also leaving the PGA Tour to join the LIV Golf series.

LIV Golf offers three-round tournaments with individual and team components. The field of players will be divided into teams of three each week through a draft. The three teams with the best total points for the week will receive additional prizes.

The Stinger GC (15 less) remains at number one on the team leaders ’table with a seven-shot advantage over the Crushers GC. They are followed by Majjesticks GC (6 less) and 4 Aces GC (4 less).

–Field-level media

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