Livescore Thursday, April 25
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The 123rd US Open tees off on Thursday at Los Angeles Country Club with global golf gripped by suspense worthy of a Hollywood script.

LACC’s par-70 North Course, a jewel that club members have largely preferred to keep to themselves, is hosting the US Open for the first time, 75 years after the championship was last held in Los Angeles at Riviera Country Club.

The course’s coming out party has been overshadowed by last week’s stunning announcement that the PGA Tour and DP World Tour would join forces with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf, the upstart circuit whose launch roiled the global game.

The world’s top players arrived in Los Angeles still reeling from the news and with details yet to be revealed wondering what it meant for their professional futures.

Masters champion Jon Rahm spoke of a feeling of “betrayal” by PGA Tour officials and a sense of being in limbo.

“There’s definitely a lot of curious players,” said LIV golfer Cameron Smith, the reigning British Open champion from Australia.

“Once the balls go in the air, the athletes take the narrative back,” US Golf association chief executive Mike Whan confidently predicted.

A field of 156 is led by world number one Scottie Scheffler, second-ranked Rahm and last month’s PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka.

They’ll be getting to grips with a course whose wide fairways look deceptively welcoming for a US Open, but which will require creativity in navigating the scrubby barrancas and patchy bermuda rough on the undulating layout.

Blind shots are not uncommon, while the five par-threes will offer anything from a near 300-yard tee shot at the 11th to one of around 80 yards at the 15th.

The multiple teeing options add just one more layer of uncertainty on a course that few in the field have played competitively.

“I feel like the front nine is a bit easier than the back,” said Scheffler, who was on the US team that beat Britain and Ireland at Los Angeles Country Club in the 2018 Walker Cup amateur matches.

“There’s definitely some opportunity on the front … 13 through 18, there’s really not much to say. There’s just a lot of long, hard, difficult holes.”

Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion, has been widely tipped to lift a second major title this week, despite his struggles on the greens in his most recent PGA Tour starts.

Rahm, the 2021 US Open winner whose Masters triumph in April was one of his four wins this year, also has competitive experience at LACC, where he played in the prestigious 2013 Pacific-12 collegiate championship.

American Max Homa, a six-time PGA Tour winner who has underachieved in the majors, set the course record of 61 in winning that PAC-12 title, but Rahm said anyone expecting to see that score this week will be disappointed.

“That’s not happening right now,” Rahm said. “You’ll see a lot of birdies, and I think you also see some high numbers come out of nowhere.

– Gnarly oasis –

Hemmed in by the magnificent homes of Beverly Hills — including the Playboy Mansion — the course is “this natural, gnarly oasis, rural oasis in this urban metropolis — the entertainment capital of the world,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s chief championships officer.

Koepka isn’t concerned about his lack of familiarity with the course. The American isn’t short on confidence after winning his fifth major at the PGA Championship — where he became the first LIV golfer to win a major.

“I’m pretty sure I know what it takes to compete in majors,” said Koepka, who could add a third US Open title to those he won in 2017 and 2018.

Koepka will tee off at 1:54 pm (2054 GMT) Thursday alongside 2011 US Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.

Scheffler goes off at 8:13 am alongside Homa and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa. Rahm tees off on the 10th hole at 8:24 with fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway and sixth-ranked American Xander Schauffele.

Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick of England will play the first two rounds alongside Smith and American Sam Bennett, who turned pro after earning low amateur honors at the Masters.

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