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Although Cameron Tringale’s game has clearly been trending in the right direction — the savvy vet improved from a 22nd-place finish in the LIV Golf season opener at Mayakoba, to 16th at Tucson, to 13th in Orlando, and fifth last week in Australia — he admitted after the first round of this week’s event in Singapore that he was worried about how the course suited his eye.

Since Tringale likes to fade the ball and Sentosa Golf Club often demands a draw, the former Georgia Tech star assumed he’d be in for a long week.

In advance of the tournament, Tringale and his HyFlyers GC teammates, captained by Phil Mickelson, played nine holes on the course, and since Lefty made a half-dozen consecutive appearances at the course in the Barclays Singapore Open from 2007-12, one would expect there was plenty of course insight offered in the session.

“He maybe said a couple sentences about the golf course,” Tringale said of Mickelson.

“I don’t think he even listens to his own advice anyway.”

LIV Golf Singapore: Photos

Maybe advice is overrated. Tringale put together a stretch of six birdies in eight holes on Friday, firing a 65 to lead the HyFlyers to a one-stroke team lead in the three-day event. And while Tringale said he didn’t get a ton of insight from his captain, he loves the laid-back vibe he gets from the six-time major champion.

“As far as hanging with Phil, he’s a lot of fun. He brings out sort of a fun, playful side I think in all of us,” Tringale said. “He’s always challenging us to be our best and to get better at things. When we are good at something, he’s your biggest fan. He’s very encouraging and positive, and starting to believe he might be right on a few of those.”

While Tringale got off to a scorching start, so did Mickelson, who finished the day with a 5-under 66. And the leaderboard had the kind of names you’ve long expected a LIV board to showcase: Hot hand Talor Gooch led the way with a 64, while Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Cam Smith, Bryson DeChambeau and Louis Oosthuizen were all within two shots of the individual lead.

Day 1 Singapore #LIVGolf

— LIV Golf (@livgolf_league) April 28, 2023

Smith, who didn’t post a bogey, was asked whether anything has clicked for him of late, as he seems to be snapping back into the championship form that led him to wins at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Players Championship and the Open Championship in 2022.

“I don’t think so. I think just playing more golf, to be honest,” Smith said.
“We’ve played a lot of golf recently, and I think it’s a good thing for the golf game but probably a bad thing for the body and the mind sometimes, as well.

“Yeah, I think just playing a little bit more competitive golf, hitting some proper golf shots, and yeah, just being back out here and trying to win.”

Gooch, who opened with consecutive rounds of 10-under 62 in a victory at Grange Golf Club in Australia last week and held on for a three-shot win to claim his first individual title, was nearly error-free again in the opening round at Singapore, using seven birdies and no bogeys to take the lead.

While he clearly is in top form, Gooch also isn’t taking any of this lightly.

“I have a buddy of mine that has been like a mentor to me since I was 10, and he always said, ‘In golf, the penthouse and the outhouse are always right around the corner from each other.’ You try not to get too high or too low when things are too good or aren’t good,” Gooch said. “You’ve got to earn it. 62s and 64s don’t just happen, and just because you’re confident doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again.

“Hopefully, we can keep it rolling and go play some good golf and finish out a good week here.”