Abraham Ancer leads at LIV Golf Nashville, but Tyrrell Hatton is nipping at his heels

COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. — After a 7-under, bogey-free round, Abraham Ancer is in the lead after the opening day of LIV Golf’s Nashville event.

“Definitely really happy with pretty much everything today,” Ancer said Friday. “It was really nice off the tee, (I) hit some really good shots in there, and I rolled it nicely.”

Tyrrell Hatton was in second place at 6 under.

LIV Golf tournaments tee off with a shotgun start, in which all players start at the same time but at various holes throughout the course. Friday’s Round 1 saw Ancer begin his day at No. 18 with Cameron Smith and Patrick Reed.

Smith ended tied for 11th with a score of 2 under, while Reed tied for 41st at 1 over.

Hong Kong in early March was the host of the first and only LIV Golf event that Ancer has won, but he is using that as a boost of confidence in hopes of recreating another victory.

“The win in Hong Kong was huge. And I guess in the fashion that I did, it wasn’t the most stress-free way to do it, but it definitely gives you a little more confidence just to make the putts easier to make or get the shots easier to hit,” he said.

Ancer is set to tee off at 12:15 p.m. CT Saturday, but this time in a group with Hatton and John Catlin, who is in third place. Though he is in sole possession of first place now, Ancer is not letting that cloud his mind as he heads toward his ultimate goal — a win on Sunday.

“I just try to forget about it. I feel like with this sport, even if you had a great round or a terrible round, it doesn’t really help to be thinking about it too much, so I forget about it,” he said. “(I) go about my regular routine, same as yesterday and then do the same thing tomorrow. (I try) not to be thinking where I’m at on the leaderboard but try to figure out (each) shot at a time.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek