OREGON: Dustin Johnson shot a 4-under-par 68 to tie Mexico's Carlos Ortiz for the lead after the second round of the LIV Golf Invitational Portland on Friday in North Plains, Ore.
At 8-under 136, Johnson and Ortiz hold a two-shot advantage over South Africa's Branden Grace (second-round 69). Ortiz led Johnson by a stroke after the first round and posted a 69 on Friday to set up a battle in the final round at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Johnson, the highest-ranked golfer in the world (No. 17) playing on the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, rolled in eight birdies Friday to counteract four bogeys. His last victory, coincidentally, came at the 2021 Saudi International, an event sponsored by the European Tour.
South Africa's Justin Harding shot the low round of the day, a 5-under 67, to take sole possession of fourth place at 5 under. A tie for fifth at 4 under included major winners Brooks Koepka (70), Patrick Reed (68) and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen (69), along with Jinichiro Kozuma of Japan (69) and Sihwan Kim (68).
LIV events feature 48 players, last just three rounds and have no cuts. Portland marks the league's second tournament and the LIV debut for Ortiz, Koepka, Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and others. South Africa's Charl Schwartzel captured the LIV opener in mid-June near London.
There also is a team aspect, with players grouped in four-man teams. Johnson's squad, 4 Aces GC, grew its lead to four strokes after the second round. Pat Perez, Patrick Reed and Talor Gooch joined Johnson in bringing the team to 15 under par.
Stinger GC, an all-South African group consisting of Grace, Hennie du Plessis, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, are in second at 11 under. --REUTERS