lunes, 15 de mayo de 2023

DJ WINS PLAYOFF; STINGER GC CLAIMS TEAM TITLE IN LIV GOLF OKLAHOMA

 


 

 

Captain Dustin Johnson of 4Aces GC wins in a playoff at Cedar Ridge Country Club. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/LIV Golf)

 

 

 – On a day filled with record-tying scores, a nearly two-hour weather delay, a drama-filled afternoon, a triple bogey by the eventual winner and a three-man individual playoff in front of the best-attended LIV Golf event held in the United States, two familiar names returned to the top of the podium at LIV Golf Tulsa.
 
4Aces GC Captain Dustin Johnson won the individual trophy for the second time in his LIV Golf career with a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Branden Grace and Cameron Smith. Grace’s Stinger GC also won for the second time, by one stroke over the 4Aces in a victory sealed by Grace’s par putt on the final hole of regulation.
 
In becoming last year’s season-long Individual Champion, Johnson won a three-man playoff in Boston, making eagle on the first playoff hole. With his win Sunday at Cedar Ridge Country Club, he becomes the third two-time winner in LIV Golf, joining Brooks Koepka and Talor Gooch, and he moves to sixth in the individual points standings after a slow start to his season.
 
“Next time I’d like to win without going into a playoff,” Johnson said. “Would be a lot less stressful.”

 



Stinger GC celebrates on stage after capturing the LIV Golf Tulsa team title. (Photo by Amy Kontras/LIV Golf)

 

For the all-South African Stingers, it was a long time between wins, nearly a year since they won the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational tournament in London last June. They wore blue ribbons all week in memory of legendary South African golfer John Bland, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 77.
 
“It’s amazing how these things happen,” said captain Louis Oosthuizen. “Blandy was an inspiration to all of us growing up watching him play … It was just nice to sort of know in the back of our minds that he was there with us this week.”
 
Sunday was a day of low scores, with Smith and RangeGoats GC’s Harold Varner III tying the LIV record-low score of 61 (9 under) set by Grace in Friday’s first round. Yet when play was suspended two hours into the final round, Johnson and his 4Aces appeared in control. Johnson was a bogey-free 3 under on his day and led Grace by three strokes, while the 4Aces led the Stingers, also by three shots.
 
But then play resumed, and the leaderboards tightened.
 
At the par-4 10th, the most difficult hole this week, Johnson’s tee shot landed left of the cart path, and his second shot got away from him, finding the water on the left side of the green. After a penalty stroke, his fourth shot found the greenside rough. He found the green on his fifth shot, then two-putted for triple bogey. That left Grace as the leader, with Johnson a stroke back.
 
“I wish I could blame it on the rain delay,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t the rain delay’s fault, though. No. 10 was really the only hole where I had a little bit of a hiccup. Everything that could go wrong went wrong on that hole.”

 



Captain Cameron Smith of Ripper GC celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole at Cedar Ridge Country Club. (Photo by LIV Golf)

 

Johnson steadied himself with a birdie on the next hole to tie Grace atop the leaderboard, but now the hopes were raised for several chasers in the pack – primarily Ripper GC Captain Smith, who was reeling off four consecutive birdies at the time. When Smith birdied his final hole for his 61, he had the solo lead at 17 under.
 
Grace then birdied the 17th to tie Smith at 17 under with one hole to play. Johnson, his playing partner in the final group, was at 16 under. But Johnson then rolled in a clutch birdie putt on the final hole to join the playoff. Meanwhile, Grace sealed the Stinger win with his par putt to finish with a 5-under 65 to go with counting rounds from Dean Burmester (64) and Charl Schwartzel (66).
 
“I actually hit a great first putt that was straight on line,” said Grace. “Just nice finishing it out and then knowing that the team was successful.”
 
On the playoff hole, all three players saw their approach shots finish in the same general area below the hole. Grace missed his attempt, then Johnson knocked his in. Smith had the closest look but for one of the few times Sunday could not find the bottom of the cup.
 
“I thought it was pretty good. Just kind of didn’t come back,” Smith said of his attempt. “I holed a lot of putts today. Can’t really be angry at the greens.”
 
Grace, who had rallied past Johnson to win last year in Portland, said winning the team title helped make up for coming up short in the playoff. “At the end, it was not bittersweet,” Grace said. “But I know I put in a lot of hard work and it’s paid off, and the team really wanted this one.”
 
As for Johnson, the victory gives him plenty of momentum going into next week’s PGA Championship, the second major of the season.
 
“Feel like I’m doing everything really well right now,” Johnson said. “I’m really looking forward to next week.”

 

Branden Grace helped Stinger GC capture their first team title of the season. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/LIV Golf)

 

TEAM COUNTING SCORES

Here are the standings and counting scores for Sunday’s final round of the team competition at LIV Golf Tulsa. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.
 
1. STINGER GC (-40): Dean Burmester 64, Branden Grace 65, Charl Schwartzel 66 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
 
2. 4ACES GC (-39): Patrick Reed 64, Pat Perez 66, Peter Uihlein 67 (Rd. 3 score: -13)
 
3. RANGEGOATS GC (-35): Harold Varner III 61, Talor Gooch 67, Thomas Pieters 67 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
 
4. CRUSHERS GC (-34): Anirban Lahiri 65, Charles Howell III 66, Bryson DeChambeau 67 (Rd. 3 score: -12)
 
5. SMASH GC (-34): Jason Kokrak 63, Brooks Koepka 65, Chase Koepka 67 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
 
6. FIREBALLS GC (-33): Carlos Ortiz 63, Eugenio Chacarra 64, Sergio Garcia 65 (Rd. 3 score: -18)
 
7. RIPPER GC (-32): Cameron Smith 61, Matt Jones 66, Marc Leishman 69 (Rd. 3 score: -14)
 
8. TORQUE GC (-31): Sebastián Muñoz 62, Joaquin Niemann 65, Mito Pereira 68 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
 
9. MAJESTICKS GC (-30): Andy Ogletree 62, Laurie Canter 65, Henrik Stenson 65 (Rd. 3 score: -18)
 
10. HYFLYERS GC (-21): Cameron Tringale 65, James Piot 67, Brendan Steele 68 (Rd. 3 score: -10)
 
11. IRON HEADS GC (-21): Scott Vincent 64, Kevin Na 68, Sihwan Kim 68 (Rd. 3 score: -10)
 
12. CLEEKS GC (-19): Bernd Wiesberger 66, Martin Kaymer 68, Richard Bland 70 (Rd. 3 score: -6)

 

NOTES 

VARNER, SMITH TIE LIV-RECORD LOW: RangeGoats GC’s Harold Varner III and Ripper GC Cameron Smith each shot 9-under 61 on Sunday, equaling the LIV record-low set by Branden Grace on Friday.
 
Varner was on pace to break 60 after carding two eagles in his first four holes and was 10 under with four holes to play. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th bounced off the rocks and into the bunker, and he could not get up and down to save par. He finished at 13 under and solo fourth.
 
Smith reeled off four consecutive birdies from holes 12-15 and then birdied his final hole for 61 and make the playoff.
 
“There was probably still a couple of shots that I left out there that in the end could have been the decider,” Smith said. “It was really good stuff but still just a little bit disappointing.”
 
OGLETREE SUBS FOR WESTWOOD, SHOOTS 62: Andy Ogletree, the first reserve this week, took Majesticks co-captain Lee Westwood’s spot in the lineup Sunday after Westwood suffered an injury to his medial ligament in his left knee. The International Series Order of Merit leader shot a bogey-free 8-under 62 that included an eagle at the par-5 14th.
 
"Rather than play today, just give it another day to recover," he said. "If you're not going to go out there 100%, then there's not really any point going out there."
 
Westwood expects to be ready for LIV Golf DC in two weeks.
 
THE BRAAI IMPACT: Stinger GC Captain Louis Oosthuizen cooked a braai – South Africa’s version of a BBQ – earlier this week at the team’s rental house. After Branden Grace shot a LIV-record 61 in Friday’s first round, Oosthuizen decided it was a stroke of good fortune, and so continued to braai after each round.
 
“Yeah, I was the cook, the chef this week,” Oosthuizen said. “So, boys, if you do that every week, I’ll be the chef every time. It was good fun.”
 
STANDINGS UPDATE: With the team victory, Stinger GC moves into second place in the season-long team standings, 36 points behind the 4Aces.
 
In the individual standings, Dustin Johnson is now sixth, while Cameron Smith moves to third with his runner-up finish, and Brooks Koepka moves to second with his sixth-place finish. Talor Gooch remains the points leader.

 

RD. 1 STAT LEADERS

Driving distance
– Peter Uihlein, 328.1-yard average
 
Longest drive – Matthew Wolff, 336.8 yards (18th hole)
 
Driving accuracy – Henrik Stenson, Jediah Morgan, 86% (12 of 14)
 
Greens in regulation – Jason Kokrak, Sebastián Muñoz, 94% (17 of 18)
 
Fewest putts – Harold Varner III, 23 putts
 
Most birdies – Cameron Smith, Sebastián Muñoz, 9
 
Bogey-free rounds – Cameron Smith (61), Andy Ogletree (62), Jason Kokrak (63), Patrick Reed (64), Dean Burmester (64), Branden Grace (65), Anirban Lahiri (65), Cameron Tringale (65), Talor Gooch (67)
 

 

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