Smith makes eventful start in LIV golf

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Cameron Smith has made an eventful start to his LIV golf career, posting a six-under 64 in a drama-filled round to sit one behind the lead.

The world No.2, who became the highest-profile golfer to join Greg Norman's Saudi-funded league this week, was one of the major drawcards in Boston.

The Australian didn't disappoint.

Smith broke a wedge with a shot from behind a tree that allowed him to save par, before finishing with a 45-foot eagle putt that left him just one behind Matthew Wolff.

The first-round leader became a footnote in LIV Golf history, becoming the first to notch a hole-in-one en route to a 63.

Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Talor Gooch also shot 64.

"I'm having a blast out there - my first day at the office," said Niemann.

Smith and Niemann highlighted the batch of newcomers that included Anirban Lahiri (66), Harold Varner III (67), Marc Leishman (70) and Cameron Tringale (71).

"This is a new kind of chapter in my life. I think this is the future of golf," Smith said earlier in the week. "I love how it is out here. It's a little bit more laid back on the range, the music playing. I love that stuff."

He also cited a smaller schedule that will allow him to get home to Australia more often in leaving the PGA Tour after rising to the second best player in the world.

Smith was solid at the start and finish with a few errant drives in the middle.

One was on the 16th hole when he pulled his drive into the trees. The ball was next to the trunk and Smith was allowed relief because his feet from playing it left-handed - his only sensible play - were on the cart path.

After the drop, he tried to hood a gap wedge (right-handed) and the club smacked against the tree near the bottom of the shaft. The ball rolled just through the green and he saved par.

"You know you're going to lose a club but it's probably worth one or two shots," he said.

Wolff made his ace on the 178-yard second hole, his fifth of the round.

The ball took one-hop and disappeared into the cup for the first ace in the fourth LIV Golf Invitational series.

The former Oklahoma State star had another eagle on the par-5 12th hole to go along with six birdies. Those offset three bogeys and was enough for him to take the lead.

Lahiri and Louis Oosthuizen were in the group at 66, while Dustin Johnson was at 67. Johnson has finished in the top 10 in the previous LIV events, though he has yet to win.

Only 12 players from the 48-man field failed to post par or better at The International, located about 45 minutes west of Boston. That included Phil Mickelson, who had a 74.