BANGKOK, Thailand (AP)Richard Bland, Branden Grace and Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra upstaged their more-illustrious opponents on Friday to shoot 7-under 65s and share the lead after the first round of the LIV Golf Invitational-Bangkok.

Marc Leishman and Ian Poulter were a stroke behind while Kim Sihwan, Brooks Koepka and Morgan Jediah were among those two behind in the 54-hole event.

The tournament is being played on the new Stonehill Golf Club north of downtown Bangkok. The course was created by American designer Kyle Phillips and opened this year.

Dustin Johnson, who leads the money list with just over $12.5 million in five events, shot 70. British Open champion Cameron Smith, who won the last LIV event in Chicago in mid-September, shot 72.

It’s the first time LIV Golf is being played outside the United States since its inaugural event in early June near London.

Before the start of play, players learned that they still won’t accrue ranking points on the LIV series. The Official World Golf Ranking said in a statement Thursday that it had denied the MENA Tour’s request to immediately add the Saudi-funded series to its schedule.

The OWGR said the MENA Tour did not give it sufficient notice and there would not be time to finish the review ahead of the Bangkok tournament and next week’s event in Saudi Arabia.

LIV Golf created an alliance with the little-known MENA Tour, which hasn’t run a tournament of its own since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MENA Tour stands for Middle East and North Africa and is a developmental tour that has been getting the bare minimum of world ranking points since 2016. It has 54-hole events with a 36-hole cut, offering a $75,000 purse.

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