Stenson, Reed share LIV tournament lead

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Henrik Stenson had a happy return to golf after being removed as European Ryder Cup captain, making eight birdies in his LIV Golf Invitational debut at Bedminster to share the lead with Patrick Reed.

The Swede's seven-under 64 was enough to lead after 18 holes with Reed.

Phil Mickelson's return to the area wasn't entirely happy.

As he was teeing off at Trump National Bedminster, a spectator yelled out, "Do it for the Saudi royal family!"

Mickelson is immensely popular in the New York area, winning a PGA Championship at nearby Baltusrol and finishing as a runner-up four times at US Opens in New York.

He now is seen as the chief recruiter for Greg Norman and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series. He sat out four months earlier this year after disparaging remarks about the Saudis and the PGA Tour.

"I think I've always enjoyed playing in this area. We had a great day thereafter," Mickelson said. "I thought it was a good day all around. I didn't really think much of it."

The rest of his day did not get much better, particularly the end. He missed a 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole, then ran the three-footer for par some six feet by the hole.

"I'll wait," he said, and then realising he was farthest from the hole adding, "Is it still me?"

He made that for a bogey-bogey finish and a 75.

Stenson was among four new players added to the 48-man field for the third LIV Golf event.

He had pledged full support to the European tour in March when he accepted the Ryder Cup captain's job, and then signed on with LIV Golf for a fee reported to be about $50 million ($A71.5 million).

The tour stripped him of the job last week when LIV Golf announced his signing.

"It's nice to be out there playing golf," Stenson said. "And yeah, of course it's been a busy couple of weeks and not the most fun, but we keep our head down and focus on the golf. Just very pleased to have the ability to go out there and do that and play such a solid round.

"It's the best I've played all year, and I'll take a lot of credit from that."

Reed also had a 64 in his second LIV Golf event. His round featured six birdies in a seven-hole stretch during the shotgun start.

Thai Phachara Khongwatmai had a 66 while Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz each had a 67 and were three shots behind.

Charles Howell III (68) and Jason Kokrak (69) also made LIV Golf debuts, while the fourth addition, Paul Casey, had a 73.

The 54-hole event with no cut pays $4 million ($A5.7 million) to the winner.

Australian Matt Jones shot a one-over 72.

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