News and Notes: Kaymer gets in shape in Houston

HUMBLE, Texas – It's a tight spot at the top of the LIV Golf Houston leaderboard, with Caleb Surratt, Martin Kaymer and Adrian Meronk tied for the lead, but there was plenty more news, notes and stats from the opening round at Golf Club of Houston.


KAYMER ROUND IN FORM: Cleeks GC Captain Martin Kaymer's bogey-free 7-under 65 is his lowest round relative to par at LIV Golf and is the perfect continuation of a resurgence in the game now that he is no longer hampered by the wrist problems that have hampered his performance for the past 18 months.

Kaymer entered LIV Golf Houston after two consecutive top-20 finishes in Adelaide and Singapore, his best two-start streak since the inaugural 2022 season.

“It all started in Hong Kong and then I got better and better,” said Kaymer, whose round was powered by four consecutive birdies starting on the first hole. “Once little things start to fall into place, rounds like this can happen.”

“I’m not yet where I’d like to be, but things are running fairly consistently now.”

The timing for Kaymer's improved game couldn't have come at a better time. He is one of 12 LIV Golf players competing in next week's US Open at Pinehurst, the venue he dominated by eight strokes 10 years ago to win his second major title.

Not that he's thinking about it this week in Houston.

“I have to play two more rounds,” said Kaymer, “then I’ll go to Pinehurst with the same attitude.”

SURRATT'S COURSE KNOWLEDGE: Many of the 54-player field competed at the Golf Club of Houston when it hosted the Houston Open, but that was at least five years ago.

Caleb Surratt, the least experienced player on the course, may have the most recent course experience aside from local resident Patrick Reed. Surratt competed in a collegiate event on the course 15 months ago when he played at the University of Tennessee.

“The conditions were definitely a little different, there were a lot more fans and the conditions were a little more difficult,” Surratt said of returning on Friday. “But I've seen the golf course and I feel comfortable.”

APROPOS REEDS: The 4Aces GC star had a sizeable following of family, friends and fans en route to a 5-under-par 67 that leaves him tied for sixth place with seven more strokes to go into the second round.

“It definitely gave me a lot of energy today to go out there and score some goals for them and play well,” Reed said. “Hopefully I can go out this weekend and keep that momentum going.”

MERONK’S STRING MUSIC: Co-leader Adrian Meronk of Cleeks GC completed two runs of three consecutive birdies with his bogey-free 65. It is his lowest round relative to par at LIV Golf since his opening-round 8-under 62 at LIV Golf Jeddah.

PREVIOUS WINNERS: Five former winners of the Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston are competing this week.

Majesticks GC co-captain Ian Poulter (2018 winner) and Crushers GC's Paul Casey (2009 winner) had the lowest rounds on Friday, both shooting a score of 5 under par and 67.

Matt Jones (2014 winner) of Ripper GC shot 68, while HyFlyers GC captain Phil Mickelson (2011 winner) shot 71.

Wild card player Anthony Kim, whose victory at the 2010 Houston Open was his last before he retired two years later, was 1 under par until he bogeyed his final two holes and had to settle for 73.

“The last two holes were disappointing, but I saw so many positives today,” Kim wrote on his X account.

CATLIN MAKES LIV GOLF DEBUT: Asian Tour points leader John Catlin, who is filling in for injured Crushers GC player Charles Howell III, shot 1-under-par 71 in his first round at a LIV golf tournament.


Driving accuracy: Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Danny Lee, Brooks Koepka, 85.71% (12 of 14 fairways hit)

The distance to be traveled: Carlos Ortiz, average 336.5 yards.

Longest journey: Matthew Wolff, 361.4 yards, 13th hole

Greens in regulation: Paul Casey, Kalle Samooja, Mito Pereira, Brendan Steele, Henrik Stenson, John Catlin, 83.33% (15 of 18 Greens)

Scramble: Lucas Herbert (8 of 8), Adrian Meronk (8 of 8), Matt Jones (7 of 7), Louis Oosthuizen (7 of 7), Martin Kaymer (5 of 5), Joaquin Niemann (5 of 5), Caleb Surratt (4 of 4), Paul Casey (3 of 3), Henrik Stenson (3 of 3), 100 %

Putt: Adrian Meronk, 1.22 putts per hole

Bogey-free rounds: Martin Kaymer (65), Adrian Meronk (65), Caleb Surratt (65), Joaquin Niemann (67), Paul Casey (67), Matt Jones (68), Louis Oosthuizen (69), Lucas Herbert (69), Henrik Stenson (70)