Written by
Bryan Mullen
Oct 13 2023
Gooch R1 Jeddah

All eyes were upon Talor Gooch on Friday. And the RangeGoats Golf Club star did nothing to disappoint.

Gooch’s even-par 70 at LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHIN kept him in the thick of things for a big trophy and big payday, and for those on pins and needles as the regular season draws to a close, the weekend should offer plenty of drama.

Gooch has been the hottest player on LIV Golf this season and is one of only three players who have a mathematical chance of winning the season-long individual champion title, which will be earned on Sunday. A win this week gives him the trophy. He is battling Ripper Golf Club’s Cameron Smith and Crusher Golf Club’s Bryson DeChambeau for the top individual spot of 2023.

DeChambeau shot 1-under 69 on Friday while Smith matched Gooch’s even-par 70. In other words, things are tight entering Saturday.

Prior to Friday’s round, Gooch discussed his plan for Jeddah and wanting to end the regular season on top.

“I’m just continuing to build confidence and comfort coming down the stretch,” said Gooch, who has three wins in 2023 and four top-10 finishes. “Having done it, you just get more and more comfortable with it. It's been a great year, and hopefully we can cap it off with a great week this week.”

RangeGoats GC teammates Harold Varner III, Thomas Pieters and captain Bubba Watson started strong as well. The team entered the week fifth in the season-long team standings, and the top four at the end of this week will earn a quarterfinal bye at the Team Championship in Miami next week.

RangeGoats GC will guarantee a top-four spot in the standings and a bye unless: Stingers Golf Club have a higher finish, or Stingers finish eighth and RangeGoats finish seventh, or RangeGoats finish eighth.

Varner III was the leader on Friday, shooting a fantastic 4-under 66 with six birdies and two bogeys. He had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine. Varner III is tied for second with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka entering the weekend, just one shot back of leader Marc Leishman.

Pieters and Watson both shot 1-over 71s as both look to get on the birdie train this weekend. The team is in seventh place on the team leaderboard after Round 1.